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Silent letters are letters that are not pronounced in a word. There are many silent letters in English, including the letter 'e' at the end of a word, the letter 'b' following 'm,' and many, many more. Can you guess which letter is silent in these words?
- hope - silent 'e'
- comb - silent 'b'
- island - silent 's'
- bought - silent 'gh'
Here is a list of common letter combinations with silent letters in alphabetical order. This list contains most of the silent letters that give English as a second language students difficulties.
B is not pronounced when following M at the end of a word.
climb - I climbed the tree in the park.
crumb - There's a crumb of bread on your lapel.
dumb - That's a really dumb question.
comb - Do you carry a comb with you?
C is not pronounced in the ending "scle."
muscle - He's building up muscle with that exercise.
D is not pronounced in the following common words:
handkerchief - Adding a handkerchief to your suit provides a touch of class.
Wednesday - I'm not working this Wednesday.
E is not pronounced at the end of words and usually makes the vowel long.
hope - I hope to see you soon.
drive - I'll drive the car to Seattle tomorrow.
gave - Jennifer gave him a book for his birthday.
write - Do you write letters anymore?
site - We visited the monument site last week.
G is often not pronounced when followed by an N.
champagne - Let's drink champagne!
foreign - She works for a foreign bank.
sign - The sign says 'exit'.
feign - Don't feign that you care!
GH is not pronounced before T and at the end of many words.
thought - I thought about you last week.
through - Let's take a drive through the park.
daughter - My daughter was born in Pisa.
light - There's a beautiful light in the sky.
H is not pronounced when following W. Some speakers whisper the H before the W.
what - What did you say?
when - When does the train leave?
where - Where are we going?
H is not pronounced at the beginning of many words. Use the article "an" with unvoiced H. Here are some of the most common:
hour - I'll see you in an hour.
honest - To be honest, this is difficult.
honor - It's an honor to have you over for dinner.
K is not pronounced when followed by N at the beginning of a word.
knife - I cut the fish open with a knife.
knee - Bend your knees and jump.
know - Do you know the answer?
L is often not pronounced before L, D, F, M, K.
calm - It's a calm day in paradise.
salmon - Let's have salmon for dinner.
talk - Let's talk soon.
should - You should come over next week.
N is not pronounced following M at the end of a word.
autumn - It's a beautiful autumn day.
hymn - Open to hymn 25 and let's sing.
P is not pronounced at the beginning of many words using the suffix "psych" and "pneu".
psychiatrist - The psychiatrist asked lots of questions.
pneumonia - Pneumonia can be a very dangerous disease.
S is not pronounced before L in the following words:
island - We took a ferry to the island.
T is not pronounced in these common words:
castle - The castle stood upon the hill overlooking the valley.
fasten - fasten your seatbelts and lets go for a ride.
listen - Listen carefully to what I say.
U is not pronounced before after G and before a vowel.
guess - I guess I don't know the answer.
guitar - While my guitar gently weeps.
guest - She's our guest tonight.
W is not pronounced at the beginning of a word followed by an R.
wrap - Wrap up the present for Tom.
write - I need to write an essay tomorrow.
wrong - I'm afraid you are wrong.
W is not pronounced with these three pronouns:
who - Who do you know in town?
whose - Whose job is it?
whom - Whom should we ask.