What is the Schwa in Literacy 'ə'?


The schwa sound in English is very important when speaking and becoming fluent in Literacy. It is very common in English. The schwa looks different in different words so there is not one sound that it represents.  Using the schwa correctly helps the speaker sound more fluent. 

The schwa sound presents itself as an 'uh' sound but any of the a - e - i - o - u sounds can represent this letter. 

For example -

The a in amazing. uh-mayzing 

The o in carrot - karr - uh - t

The e in the - thuh

Sometimes words will not have a letter to represnt it but the phonetic symbol is ə. The sound is never stressed. It's an easy going sound and relaxed in pronunciation. 

Again - əˈɡɛn

Sometimes fluent English speakers will change stressed vowel sounds such as the a schwa sound - 

again - A- gayn 



when fluent English speakers are chatting naturally. 

Lemon - lem-uh -n

This is a great video to help children understand the schwa sound. 


An indepth reference to what a schwa sound is can be found in this excellent video by mmmEnglish

 Here is another one that is a good guide to how to pronounce and identify the schwa sound.