In the English language there is an interesting sound that can come from any of the vowels – a, e, i, o, u, and y. The sound is called a schwa.
A schwa is represented in print with an upside-down e, like this: ?. The sound a schwa makes sounds like a short u (“?” or “uh”).
Schwas are only found in multi-syllable words. Let me give an example. Cotton. You don’t say, cot-ton (where the o sounds like the word ton), you say, cotton (and the second o sounds like a short u). This is a schwa.
In the word, love, the o sounds like short u, but it is not a schwa because it is a one syllable word. Same with the word “was.” Not a schwa.
An “a” at the end of a word will always be a schwa. Examples: cola (c? l?), mocha, umbrella, pizza, Montana.
Here a few more examples of words with a schwa – there are many in the English language.
Want more? Check out the Workbook Store. This information plus worksheets are in the workbook store.