One of the most basic English spelling rules has to do with the writing of short and long vowel sounds represented by the single vowel letters.

Short vowel sounds:

/a/ as in at

/e/ as in egg;

/i­/ as in igloo

/o/ as in hot

/u­/ as in umbrella

Long vowel sounds:

/A/ as in ape

/E/ as in Pete

/I/ as in ice

/O/ as in tote

/U/ as in uke

In reading, we know that the vowel letters in words like hat, met, Tim, bog, and mud stand for their short sounds because the rule tells us that a vowel between consonants stands for the short sound.

In writing, if we want to indicate a “long” vowel sound using a single vowel letter, we must add a silent e to the end of the word:
He wears a hat. (short a)
Don’t hate people. (long a)

Because this is such a basic rule, one can only wonder why so many Ebay sellers and bloggers mix up the words strip and stripe:

Cute lion doll wearing strips and spots
When you see someone wearing strips and checks together, first thoughts are they don’t own a mirror.

The word strip is pronounced with a short i.
The words stripe is pronounced with a long i.

A striped dress
A striped dress

A similar rule applies when the -ed forms of these words are used, a rule also broken by Ebay sellers and bloggers:

a stripped dress handmade from vintage fabric
It’s a black and white stripped dress from Forever 21

In order to keep the long i sound of stripe when adding –ed, the rule requires that we drop the e and add –ed: stripe becomes stripedA dress with stripes is a striped dress.

In order to keep the short i of strip when adding –ed, the rule requires us to double the final consonant before adding –edA runner who strips for a race is a stripped runner.


A stripped Greek runner
A stripped Greek runner


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