Substitute Letters section has moved. Please click one of the links below to enter:

Phonics Index


Instructions for Instructors

Phonics Rules

Silent Letter Rules (13 Rules)

 Slate Work

Table of Substitutes

Printable Table of Substitute Combinations

Printable Table of Substitutes

Sir Buxton Story

Children's Stories Index

The Flower Story

Phonics outside links

History Index. Dictionary

Rule 2.-- When substitutes are used, they must have the same sounds as the elements for which they stand.

A Substitute is a single letter, or two or more letters, used to represent an elementary sound which is peculiar to some other letter.

We believe and maintain, that in all cases where two or more letters are used as a substitute, thet collectively represent an elementary sound which is not peculiar to any one of them, when taken by itself, but to some other letter. Thus we regard ai in said as a substitute for short e, because they represent the element of short e, which is not peculiar to either of the letters.

If the element in question is peculiar to any one of the letters used to represent it, we regard that letter alone as the representative of the element, and the others as silent. Thus eo in people is not a substitute for long e, because the element heard in the pronounciation is peculiar to the letter e alone, and the o is silent.


What is a substitute?

What demented person invented substitutes to drive us crazy?

Table of Substitutes

Below is a list of letters frequently used as substitutes to represent several of the elements as given in the first table. The learner should first name the substitute, next the element it represents, and then the example in which it is combined. Thus, ei is a substitute for a (long a) as in the word vein, and so forth.

ei = a as in vein

ey = a as in they

e = a as in sergeant

ou = a as in bought


i = e as in marine

a = e as in any

ai = e as in said

u = e as in bury


y = i as in spy

y = i as in hymn

e = i as in english

ee = i as in been


o = i as in women

u = i as in busy

ew = o as in sew

eau = o as in beau


au = o as in hautboy

a = o as in what

ew = u as in new

iew = u as in view


io = u as in nation

eo = u as in surgeon

y = u as in Myrtle

e = u as in her


i = u as in sir

o = u as in son

oo = u as in blood

o = u as in wolf


oo = u as in wool

ow = ou as in now

u = w as in persuasion

o = wu as in one


i = y as in onion

u = yu as inuse

ph = f as in phrase

gh = f as in laugh


d = j as in soldier

g = j as in gem

c = k as in cat

ch = k as in chord


gh = k as in hough

q = k as in quart

c = s as in cent

f = v as in of


ph = v as in Stephen

c = z as in suffice

s = z as in his

x = x as in xanthus


x = ks as in wax

cho = kw as in choir

n = ng as in anger

c = sh as in ocean


s = sh as in sure

ch = sh as in chaise

t = sh as in notion

g = zh as in rouge


s = zh as in osier

x = gz as in exact

Table of Combinations of the Substitutes:

In this table the substitutes are combined in words which you may pronounce, point out the substitutes, and give the elements for which they stand.

1. Vein, feint, deign; they, prey, survey, obey; oft, for, nor, cord; cough, trough, bought, ought; marine, police, fatugue; any, many; said, again.

2. Bury, buried, burial; spy, fly, type, tyrant; hymn, hysteric, hypocrite; English, Englishman, England; been; women; busy, busily, business; sew, shew, shewn.

3. Beau, bateau; hautboy, hauteur, hautgout; what, wad, squad, squander; mew, pew, dew; view, purview, interview; nation, passion, religion.

4. Luncheon, pigeon, surgeon; myrtle, myrmidon, myrrh; her, herd, perch; sir, stir, fir, bird; son, won, love; blood, flood; wolf, wolfish, wolverine.

5. Wool, wood, stood, how, owl, bower; suasion, suavity, suaviter; one, once; onion, valiant, collier; union, figure, stature; phrase, cipher, graphic.

6. Laugh, tough, enough; soldier, soldier-like; gem, ginger, gypsum; cat, scope, arc; chord, scholar, monarch; hough, lough, shough; quart, quibble.

7. Cent, dice, facile; of; Stephen; suffice, sacrifice, sice, discern; his, prism, usurper; Xanthus, xiphoid, xanthid; wax, axis, expanse.

8. Choir, choir-service; anger, languidly; ocean, social, specious; sure, sugar, pension; chaise, chamois, machine; notion, partial, patient; bastion, question, christian; osier, crosier, usual; exact, example, exist.

9. Ed is often used as a substitute for t; as in placed, mixed, vexed, looked, stopped, rebuked.

Copyright 1997 by Ed Sanders.