A as in Hay

We recently got a comment about this exercise.

Oh my gosh!

“the dog has A furry paw.” A as in HAY??

I spent a lot of years in the elementary classroom trying to soften that pronunciation to “uh” instead. Middle school and HS too!



It could be our Midwestern accent, but there are many occasions where we prefer the long a to a short one.

Long a used for emphasis (or surprise).
We had a wonderful time at your party.
I hadn’t seen her for a while so I gave her a big hug.
I didn’t study and I still got a B on the test!
Guess what? I got a car for my birthday!

Long a used in enumeration to indicate just one of something.
We took seven bats and a ball to practice.
She had pens, paper, some textbooks, and a sandwich in her backpack.

Almost always when starting a sentence.
A speeding car almost hit the kids.
A penny saved is a penny earned.

And sometimes, it just sounds better to use a long a.
Congress met on New Year’s day to avoid a fiscal crisis.
This is a fine mess you’ve got us in Ollie.

In this particular case, we were probably just being consistent with the short phrase.
We are trying to get the initial p pronunciation and the short phrase is: a furry paw
Since it has a long a, when we said the sentence, we probably just used the same intonation. Although, we could have unconsciously been applying the first rule, and used the long a for emphasis.

And possibly.

I suspect the real reason I said “ae” is because when you read that many sentences sometimes you switch to the decoding only mode and don’t say it as if you were speaking it. It is easy to over articulate as well. I have a note from a teacher in college that gave me an A- because of my “over precise speech.” Think I might still frame that!

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