When determining if the Y is a vowel
or a consonant, the basic rule is
When the letter serves as a vowel, and
in fact sounds like one, it is a
vowel. The same is true when the Y
serves as the only vowel in the
syllable. Examples of both of these
cases are such names as Lynn, Yvonne,
Mary, Betty, Elly, and Bryan.
However, if the Y does not provide a
separate vowel sound, as when it is
coupled with another vowel, it is
considered a consonant.
In names such as Maloney or Murray,
the Y is a consonant, because the
vowel sound depends upon the long E in
Maloney and the long A in Murray.
In general, the Y is a consonant when
the syllable already has a vowel.
Also, the Y is considered a consonant
when it is used in place of the soft J
sound, such as in the name Yolanda or
In the names Bryan and Wyatt, the Y is
a vowel, because it provides the only
vowel sound for the first syllable of
both names. For both of these names,
the letter A is part of the second
syllable, and therefore does not
influence the nature of the Y.
In Sydney, the first
Y is a vowel, the second Y is a
In Billy, Sylvia, Missy, Kyle, Blythe,
Sylvester, and Katy, the Y is a vowel
In Kay, Yeltsin, May, and Kuykendahl,
the Y is a consonant.