The UVic Writer's Guide

Unstressed Vowels

In speech, vowels in unstressed positions are often levelled to the sound uh, represented Iy the schwa symbol in phonetic spelling. (It looks like a lower-case letter efacing backwards.) In regular spelling, however, the vowel sounds these words used to have are still represented, which leads to confusion. The endings -ance and -ence, -ant and -ent are commonly confused for this reason.

The only real solution is to carefully memorize the spelling of each word that takes one of these endings.

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated Sept 23, 1995