Silent Letters in English from A to Z | English Pronunciation

Silent Letters in English from A to Z, The correct pronunciation is crucial in learning a new language, particularly in English. Wrong pronunciation can change the meaning of a word and on some occasion, you may even end up insulting someone not pronouncing the word correctly. One of the important things which help to pronounce words correctly is knowing the silent letters. About 60% of all English words have silent letters in them. No wonder pronunciation is so frustrating right!? But don’t worry in this article I have provided you some few simple rules to help you with the pronunciation of silent letters in English words.

What are Silent letters?

Silent letters are the letters that you can’t hear the sound when you say the word, but while reading and writing the letter is there. So let’s start at the top with the letter A.

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Silent Letters in English from A to Z

Now here I will mention each silent letters in English from a to z with English pronunciation, However, for English students, it is must they should know about silent letters because it will help them during their discussion. Therefore, this article will teach you exactly what you should know. So, let’s have a look at each silent letter.

1. Silent Letter A

The letter “A” can be silent especially in a word that ends in ‘-ally’. Like :

Artistically /ɑː(r)ˈtɪstɪkli/→it is pronounced as ‘artisticlly’ without the letter A.

For Example:

Musically /ˈmjuːzɪkli/
Romantically /rəʊˈmæntɪkli/

2. Silent Letter B

The letter ‘B’ is always silent when it follows the letter ‘M’ and it is also often silent when it comes before the consonant ‘T’. As below:

Example B after M:

Comb /kəʊm/                         
Climb /klaɪm/                         
Dumb /dʌm/                           
Plumber /ˈplʌmə(r)/

Example B before T:

Debt /det/
Doubt /daʊt/
Subtle /ˈsʌt(ə)l/

As you know exceptions are always there and about the letter ‘B’ we have two exceptional words ‘remember and obtain’. Although the letter ‘B’ is after ‘M’ and before ‘T’, it is pronounced in these two words.

3. Silent Letter C

The letter ‘C’ is often silent after the letter ‘S’. Like in these words:

For Example:

Scissors /ˈsɪzə(r)z/
Science /ˈsaɪəns/
Fascinate /ˈfæsɪneɪt/

4. Silent Letter D

The letter is silent in front of the letter ‘G’, like in these examples:

Edge /edʒ/
Hedge /hedʒ/
Knowledge /ˈnɒlɪdʒ/

‘D’ is also silent in these words:

Wednesday /ˈwenzdeɪ/
Handsome /ˈhæns(ə)m/
Sandwich /ˈsæn(d)wɪdʒ/

5. Silent Letter E

The letter ‘E’ can be silent often at the end of the words. Like:

Clue /kluː/
Like /laɪk/
Home /həʊm/

*But that ‘E’ at the end, although it might be silent, it can affect the pronunciation of the vowel sound before it. Let’s look at these examples:

Hid /hɪd/→ hide  /haɪd/
Bit /bɪt/ → bite /baɪt/
Strip /strɪp/→ stripe /strɪp/

It makes the vowel sound before it, longer.

*If the ‘E’ at the end is the only vowel sound in a word, it needs to be pronounced. Like in these examples:

Be /bi/
He /hi/
She /ʃɪ/

*A lot of times ‘E’ can be silent at the end of past tense regular verbs, which all end in ‘ED’. In words such as:

Played /pleɪd/
Closed /kləʊzd/
Opened /ˈəʊpənd/

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6. Silent Letter G

A ‘G’ can also be silent too. Think of the words:

Sign /saɪn/
Campaign /kæmˈpeɪn/
Foreign /ˈfɒrɪn/

*Combination of the letters ‘GH’ can be silent when it comes after a vowel sound. Take these words:

Though /ðəʊ/
Daughter /ˈdɔːtə(r)/
Thought /θɔːt/

7. Silent Letter H

The letter ‘H’ can be often silent when it is following the letter ‘W’. like:

Why /waɪ/
Where /weə(r)/
When /wen/

*Sometimes it is not pronounced when it is at the beginning of a word.

Hour /ˈaʊə(r)/
Honor /ˈɒnə(r)/
Honest /ˈɒnɪst/

*And sometimes ‘H’ is not pronounced when it follows any of this three-letter:

CH: in very rare occasions like in the word ‘choir’ the ‘H’ is silent and only ‘C’ is pronounced.
GH: ghost…here also the ‘H’ is not pronounced.
RH: rhythm…as well as in this word, we don’t pronounce the letter ‘H’.

  • The letter ‘I’ is not usually silent except for the word ‘business’ which is pronounced ‘busness’.

8. Silent Letter K

The letter ‘K’ is not pronounced when it comes before ‘N’ at the start of a word. Like in these examples:

Knight /naɪt/
Knot /nɒt/
Knock /nɒk/

9. Silent Letter L

The letter l can be silent after the letter ‘A, O, U’.

Could /kʊd/
Yolk /jəʊk/
Salmon /ˈsæmən/

10. Silent Letter N

The letter ‘N’ is silent when it is next to the letter ‘M’. let’s look at these examples:

Autumn /ˈɔːtəm/
Column /ˈkɒləm/
Hymn /hɪm/

11. Silent Letter P

The letter ‘P’ is usually silent in word combinations ‘pt’, ‘ps’, ‘pn’.

Pterodactyl /ˌterəʊˈdæktɪl/
Psychology /saɪˈkɒlədʒi/
Pneumonia /njuːˈməʊniə/

12. Silent Letter R

The letter ‘R’ is not silent in American English, but it can be in British English and Australian English. Words like:

Butter /ˈbʌtə(r)/
Popular /ˈpɒpjʊlə(r)/
Outer /ˈaʊtə(r)/

13. Silent Letter S

The ‘S’ is silent in these words:

Island /ˈaɪlənd/
Isle /aɪl/
Debris /ˈdebriː/

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14. Silent Letter T

The letter ‘T’ is silent in these examples:

Listen/ˈlɪs(ə)n/                                                Christmas /ˈkrɪsməs/             
Soften /ˈsɒf(ə)n/                                              Castle /ˈkɑːs(ə)l/
Ballet /ˈbæleɪ/                                                 Gourmet /ˈɡʊə(r)meɪ/
Whistle /ˈwɪs(ə)l/                                             Asthma /ˈæsmə/
Often /ˈɒf(ə)n/

15. Silent Letter U

The letter ‘U’ is often silent when it is next to the letter ‘G’. look at these examples:

Guitar /ɡɪˈtɑː(r)/
Colleague /ˈkɒliːɡ/
Tongue /tʌŋ/ 

*The letter ‘U’ is also usually not pronounced in the adverbs like:

Beautifully /ˈbjuːtɪfli/
Wonderfully  /ˈwʌndə(r)f(ə)li/

16. Silent Letter W

The letter ‘W’ is silent when it is at the start of a word before the letter ‘R’. like,

Wrong /rɒŋ/
Write /raɪt/
Wrap /ræp/

*It is also not pronounced in these common words:

Who /huː/
Whole /həʊl/
Answer  /ˈɑːnsə(r)/
Sword /sɔː(r)d/
Two /tuː/

Conclusion

Finally, it is done, guys. This was all about silent letters in English words. I hope it can help you out with the pronunciation of English words. Make sure to take out your notebooks and note them down to practice. The more you practice, the less problem you would face. 

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