# 8.21: The Letter <v> After Short and Long Vowels

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

## The Letter <v> After Short and Long Vowels

1. Earlier we saw that, except for the word of, the sound [v] is always spelled one way.

That way is __________.

One reason we have spellings with double letters like <pp> and \begin{align*}<\text{tt}>\end{align*} is to mark the difference between long and short vowels:

\begin{align*}&\text{taped} \qquad \text{tapped}\\ & \ \text{vcv} \qquad \ \text{vcc}\\ \\ &\text{later} \qquad \text{latter}\\ & \ \text{vcv} \qquad \ \text{vcc}\end{align*}

But since we don’t regularly use <vv>, we have no way to mark short vowels before [v] the way we use <pp> and \begin{align*}<\text{tt}>\end{align*} to mark them before [p] and [t] in words like tapped and latter. So the letter <v> cannot tell us whether the vowel in front of it is long or short.

2. Put a ‘\begin{align*}\text{c}\end{align*}’ for “consonant” under the <v> in each of the following words. Then mark the letter right in front of the <v> and the letter right after the <v> with either another ‘\begin{align*}\text{c}\end{align*}’ if it’s a consonant or with a ‘\begin{align*}\text{v}\end{align*}’ if it’s a vowel:

\begin{align*}&\text{avenue} && \text{arriving} && \text{driven} && \text{remove} && \text{novel}\\ &\text{flavor} && \text{having} && \text{driver} && \text{woven} && \text{overtake}\\ &\text{haven’t} && \text{gives} && \text{shovel} && \text{several} && \text{civilized}\\ &\text{haven} && \text{evening} && \text{improve} && \text{fever} && \text{lovely}\end{align*}

3. You should have found that all twenty words have the same pattern. That pattern is _________.

4. Sort the twenty words into the following two groups:

Words in which the <v> comes right after a ...

5. Usually in the pattern VCV the first vowel is _________. But do all of the words with <v> as the consonant in the pattern VCV have a long vowel right in front of the <v>? ________.

6. The word ambiguous means “to be indefinite; to have more than one possible meaning.” Be ready to discuss this question: Why can we say that so far as long and short vowels are concerned, the letter <v> is ambiguous?

Word History. Ambiguous analyzes to amb\begin{align*}\cancel{i}\end{align*} + ig + uous. The prefix amb(i)- means “both.” The base ig means “drive, lead, act.” The suffix -uous forms adjectives with a meaning like “tending to.” So ambiguous has a root meaning like “tending to drive both ways or act both ways, tending to wander around.”

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