Silent Letters

Published on Sunday, April 24, 2011 in

There are lots of silent letters in English. Yes, we stick letters in a word and then we don't pronounce them (sorry).

What is a silent letter?
A silent letter is a letter that must be included when you write the word even though you don't pronounce it. Over half the alphabet can appear as silent letters in words. They can be found at the beginning, end or middle of the words and, from the sound of the word, you wouldn't know that they were there.
For example:-
a - treadle, bread
b - lamb, bomb, comb
c - scissors, science, scent
d - edge, bridge, ledge
e - see below
h - honour, honest, school
k - know, knight, knowledge
l - talk, psalm, should
n - hymn, autumn, column
p - pneumatic, psalm, psychology
s - isle, island, aisle
t - listen, rustle, shistle
u - biscuit, guess, guitar
w - write, wrong, wrist
Silent e

Silent e is the most commonly found silent letter in the alphabet.
There are some hard and fast rules for spelling when a word ends with a silent e.
When you wish to add a suffix to a word and it ends with a silent e, if the suffix begins with a consonant you don't need to change the stem of the word.

For example:
force + ful=forceful
manage + ment=management
sincere + ly=sincerely

If however the suffix begins with a vowel or a y, drop the e before adding the suffix.
For example:
fame + ous=famous
nerve + ous=nervous
believable + y=believably
criticise + ism=criticism

mileage, aggreeable

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