# 15.9: VCV and the Suffix -ity

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

## VCV and the Suffix -ity

1. Mark the two letters — v\begin{align*}‘\mathrm{v}’\end{align*} for a vowel and c\begin{align*}‘\mathrm{c}’\end{align*} for a consonant — after each of the vowel letters marked v\begin{align*}‘\mathrm{v}’\end{align*} below:

committee vccaccomplishvcclistenvccadvisorvcvreducingvcvsmoking vcvimmensely vccjudgementvccconsistentvcclocalvcvcourageous vcvexclusivevcv\begin{align*}& \text{committee} && \text{advisor} && \text{immensely} && \text{local} \\ & \qquad \ \text{vcc} && \quad \text{vcv} && \qquad \ \text{vcc} && \text{vcv} \\ & \text{accomplish} && \text{reducing} && \text{judgement} && \text{courageous } \\ & \qquad \text{vcc} && \quad \text{vcv} && \text{vcc} && \qquad \text{vcv} \\ & \text{listen} && \text{smoking} && \text{consistent} && \text{exclusive} \\ & \text{vcc} && \quad \ \text{vcv} && \qquad \text{vcc} && \qquad \text{vcv}\end{align*}

2. Sort the words into the following matrix:

Words with the string...
VCV VCC
Words in which the first vowel in the string is long

advisor

reducing

smoking

local

courageous

exclusive

Words in which the first vowel in the string is short

committee

accomplish

listen

immensely

judgement

consisten

3. In the string VCC the vowel is usually short. In the string VCV the first vowel is usually long.

4. Though it does say “usually,” the rule that says that the first vowel in a VCV string is usually long is a very useful one. Now we are going to look at some of the reasons the VCV rule says “usually” rather than “always.”

Mark the two letters — v\begin{align*}‘\mathrm{v}’\end{align*} for a vowel and c\begin{align*}‘\mathrm{c}’\end{align*} for a consonant — after each of the vowel letters marked with a v\begin{align*}‘\mathrm{v}’\end{align*} below and sort them into the matrix:

gravityvcvgravevcvcavity vcvcave  vcvextremity  vcvextreme  vcvserenity  vcvserene vcvsublimity  vcvsublimevcvprofanity vcvprofane  vcv\begin{align*}& \text{gravity} && \text{extremity} && \text{sublimity}\\ & \quad \text{vcv} && \ \ \quad \text{vcv} && \ \ \quad \text{vcv} \\ & \text{grave} && \text{extreme} && \text{sublime} \\ & \quad \text{vcv} && \ \ \quad \text{vcv} && \qquad \text{vcv} \\ & \text{cavity} && \text{serenity} && \text{profanity}\\ & \ \text{vcv} && \ \ \quad \text{vcv} && \ \quad \text{vcv} \\ & \text{cave} && \text{serene} && \text{profane}\\ & \ \ \text{vcv} && \ \quad \text{vcv} && \ \ \quad \text{vcv}\end{align*}

Words with the first vowel in the VCV string ...
short long
Words in which the suffix -ity comes right after the VCV string

gravity

cavity

extremity

serenity

sublimity

profanity

Words in which the suffix -ity does not come right after the VCV string

grave

cave

extreme

serene

sublime

profane

5. When the suffix -ity comes right after a VCV string, the first vowel in the string will be ____________.

6. The Suffix -ity Rule. In English the vowel right in front of the suffix -ity will always be short, even in a VCV string.

The Suffix -ity Rule is stronger than the rule that says that the first vowel in a VCV string will be long, and it is the reason for many of the words that have short vowels at the front of VCV strings. It also explains why there is a long <a>\begin{align*}<\mathrm{a}>\end{align*} in a word like sane but a short a\begin{align*}‘\mathrm{a}’\end{align*} in a word like sanity.

Teaching Notes.

Item 4: All twelve of the words in the second matrix come in pairs in which the shorter word has a long vowel that shortens when the suffix -ity is added to it. Be sure that the youngsters see that pattern: sane, sanity; grave, gravity; extreme. extremity; serene, serenity; sublime, sublimity; cave, cavity. The only long vowel that resists shortening in front of -ityis long <u>\begin{align*}<\mathrm{u}>\end{align*}, as in community. For more on this and on the -ity rule see AES, pp. 112-15.

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CK.ENG.ENG.TE.1.Basic-Speller.15.9