Last week I published an entry introducing silent letters. Remember that they are letters that are written, but not pronounced. Today, and as promised, I post a few rules that will help you spot them!
At the end of the entry you can find some practice to see how much you can remember!
- B is not pronounced after <m> at the end of a word: lamb, climb, plumber, thumb, tomb, limb, dumb, bomb.
- B is not pronounced before <t>, usually at the end of the word: debt, doubt, subtle, doubtful.
- C is not pronounced in some cases where it is combined with <s> and <sc>: scene, scissors, scent, science, scenery, sci-fi, scepter, muscle.
- D is not pronounced in the following common words: handkerchief, Wednesday, handsome.
- D is not pronounced in the combination <dg>: pledge, grudge, hedge, dodge.
- E is not pronounced at the end of words, and usually elongates / lengthens the sound of the vowel (check the entry on the magic E)!: hope, drive, gave, write, site, grave, bite, hide.
Check the magic E song!
- E can be silent in the middle of words: baseball, somewhere, someone, somebody, somehow, grateful, graceful, useful, useless.
- G is often not pronounced when it comes before <n>: foreign, sign, feign, design, align.
Exceptions: magnet, cognitive.
- GH is not pronounced when it comes after a vowel: thought, drought, through, thorough, borough, daughter, light, might, sigh, right, fight, weigh, weight
Exceptions: GH is sometimes pronounced /f/: rough, tough, laugh, enough, cough, clough, draught.
- H is not pronounced at the beginning of 4 words of French origin: hour, honest, honor, heir, and words deriving from them: hourly, honorable.
- H is sometimes not pronounced in the combination <ch>. In the majority of cases, this combination has the sound in chocolate, but in some cases the <h> is silent and it is pronounced /k/: school, character, chaos, orchestra, choir, ache, stomach, anchor,, mechanic, architect, chemist's, monarchy, melancholy.
- K is not pronounced when it comes before <n> at the beginning of a word: knife, knee, know, knock, knowledge, knead.
- L is not pronounced in some very important words after the vowels <a>, <o>, <u>: calm, half, talk, walk, would, should, could, calf, salmon, yolk, chalk.
- N is not pronounced when it comes after <m> at the end of a word: autumn, hun, column.
- P is not pronounced at the beginning of many words using the prefixes psych- and pneu-: psychiatrist, pneumonia, pneumatic, psychotherapy, psychotic, psychologist.
- P is also silent in receipt.
- S is not pronounced before <l> in the following words: island, isle, aisle, précis, depris.
- T is not pronounced in these everyday words: castle, Christmas, fasten, listen, often, whistle, thistle, bustle, hasten, soften.
- U is not pronounced when it comes between a <g> and a vowel: guess, guidance, guitar, guest, guild, guard.
- W is not pronounced at the beginning of a word when it is before the letter <r>: wrap, write, wrong, wring, wreck, wrestle, wrap, wrist.
- W is not pronounced in the following words: who, whose, whom, whole, whoever.
Now that you know all these rules, why don't you try and read these short fragments?? Underline the silent letters and then try to write your own paragraph!
Texts taken from bbc.co.uk