“What is an open syllable?” is an important question we’ve talked about before in this blog. It is a syllable in which there are no consonants after a single vowel, resulting in the vowel making a long vowel sound. Eleven of the top hundred most commonly used words in English are are single-syllable, open-syllable words.(1) Examples of open syllable words from this popular set include I, he, me, she, no, so, my and by.
In this post, I’d like to give you some fun examples of open syllable words that are multi-syllable and used in pop songs new and old. I’ve linked to YouTube videos of all the songs because you know you’ll want to listen!
Examples of open syllable words in Justin Bieber (!) songs
OK, let’s get this one on the table right away. Not only is The Bieb a Canadian like our own app dev Greg McDonald but he gave us one of the best pop songs starring an open syllable word ever made on his 2010 debut album My World 2.0. Of course, we’re talking about “Baby”.
“Baby” in “Baby”
And I was like baby, baby, baby oh
Like baby, baby, baby no
Like baby, baby, baby oh
I thought you’d always be mine (mine)
“Crazy” in “The Feeling”
If I am delusional then maybe I’m crazy
In love with you, am I in love with you?
Or am I in love with the feeling?
“Secret” (first syllable is open) in “Heartbreaker”
Oh girl I got a secret place that we can go
‘Cause I really wanna be alone
Baby nobody else gotta know
Just meet me later on the low
Examples of open syllable words in pop song lyrics
“Even” in “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5
I need more hours with you
You spent the weekend
Getting even, ooh ooh
“Open” (first syllable is open) in “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?” by Moby (at around 1:38)
He’ll open doors
He’ll open doors
Examples of open syllable words in PUNK songs!
“Future” in “God Save the Queen” by The Sex Pistols
When there’s no future
How can there be sin
We’re the future
“Silent” (initial syllable is open) in “Zero Friction” by The Presidents of the United States of America
In fairness, this is more pop punk than punk, but you gotta love The Presidents.
Silent punk rocker
Take a break and shut down that guitar
Examples of open syllable words in song titles
“Evil” in Evil Woman by Electric Light Orchestra
Ha, ha, woman, it’s a cryin’ shame
But you ain’t got nobody else to blame
“Lady” in “Who’s That Lady?” by The Isley Brothers
Beautiful lady (who’s that lady)
Lovely lady (who’s that lady)
Real fine lady (who’s that lady)
Other examples of open syllable words in great songs?
So there you have it. Some great examples of open syllable words—BA·BY, CRA·ZY, SE·cret, E·ven, O·pen, FU·ture, SI·lent, E·vil and LA·DY—in great tunes. The bolded syllables in upper case are the open ones: no closing consonant after a single vowel with a resulting long vowel sound. By the way, most of these words are at level 6 in the phonics progression of our decodable books. Let us know some of your favourite songs with open-syllable words in the title in a comment.
(1) This is according to The Oxford English Corpus: Facts about the language.