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Silent Letters… The rules

How do you recognise silent letters? Read on!

Hi everyone,

Following on from last week, today we are going to learn more about Silent Letters. Now we know why silent letters exist, let’s learn the rules and how to recognise them! Keep in mind, there are ALWAYS exceptions to every rule.

SILENT B

  1. B is not pronounced after M at the end of a word.

Limb, crumb, dumb, bomb, thumb, lamb

  1. B is usually not pronounced before T at the end of a word

Debt, doubt, subtle

 

SILENT D

  1. D is not pronounced in the combination DG

Pledge, dodge, grudge, hedge

  1. D is also not pronounced in these common words:

Handkerchief, Wednesday, sandwich, handsome

 

SILENT G

G is not often not pronounced when it comes before N.

Examples: Champagne, foreign, sign, feign, foreign, design, align,

Exceptions: Magnet, cognitive, signature

 

SILENT GH

  1. GH is not pronounced when it comes after a vowel.

Thought, drought, through, thorough, borough, daughter, light, might, sigh, right, fight, weigh, weight

  1. GH is sometimes pronounced like F.

Rough, tough, laugh, enough, cough, clough, draught

 

SILENT H

  1. H is not pronounced when it comes after W

What, when, where, whether, why

  1. H is not pronounced at the beginning of many words (usually these are of French origin)

Hour, honest, honour, heir

  1. H is often not pronounced when it comes after C, G or R.

Choir, chorus, ghastly, ghoul, aghast, echo, rhinocerous, rhythm

 

SILENT N

The letter N is not pronounced when it comes after M at the end of a word.
Column, damn, solemn, autumn.

 

SILENT S

The letter S is not pronounced before L in the following words:
Aisle, island, isle, islet.

 

SILENT T 

The letter T is not pronounced  in the following words:
Castle, Christmas, fasten, listen, often, whistle, thistle, bustle, hasten, soften, rapport, gourmet, ballet.

SILENT C

  1. C is not pronounced in the combination SC.

Muscle, scissors, ascent, miscellaneous, fascinate, scenario  

  1. C is usually not pronounced before the letters K or Q.

Acquaintance, acknowledge, lock, block.

 

SILENT E

E is not pronounced at the end of words, but instead elongates the sound of the vowel before it.

Examples: Hope, drive, gave, write, site, grave, bite, hide

Exceptions to the rule: Giraffe, brunette, cassette, gazelle

 

SILENT K

K is not pronounced when it comes before N at the beginning of a word.

Knife, knee, know, knock, knowledge, knead

 

SILENT L

L is not pronounced after the vowels A, O and U.

Examples: calm, half, talk, walk, would, should, could, calf, salmon, yolk, chalk, folk, balm

Exceptions: Halo, bulk, sulk, hold, sold, fold, mould

 

SILENT P

The letter P is not pronounced at the he beginning of many words using the combinations PS, PT and PN.
Psalm, psephology, pterodactyl, pneumonia

 

 SILENT PH

PH is sometimes pronounced like F:

Paragraph, elephant, telephone.

 

SILENT U
The letter U is not pronounced when it comes after G and before a vowel in a word.
Guide, guest, guard, guess

 

SILENT W

  1. The letter W is not pronounced at the beginning of a word when it is before the letter R.
    Write, wrest, wrong, wrack, wrap.
  2. W is silent in the following words:
    Who, whose, whole, whom, whole, whoever, answer, sword, two.

Happy Learning!

Hi everyone,

I'm Rebecca, and Australian living in Rome. I love art, history, food, and creative writing! I am blogging for Creative English in the hope to combine all these passions and share them with you all. Happy reading!

REBECCA ALLISON

Creative English Teacher