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Pronunciation - Silent Letters

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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. Here are a few examples:

hope
comb
island
bought

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.

Silent B

B is not pronounced when following M at the end of a word.

climb
crumb
dumb
comb

Silent C

C is not pronounced in the ending "scle"

muscle

Silent D

D is not pronounced in the following common words:

handkerchief
Wednesday

Silent E

E is not pronounced at the end of words and usually makes the vowel long.

hope
drive
gave
write
site

Silent G

G is not often not pronounced when followed by an N

champagne
foreign
sign
feign

Silent GH

GH is not pronounced before T and at the end of many words

thought
through
daughter
light
might
right
fight
weigh

Silent H

H is not pronounced when following W. Some speakers whisper the H before the W.

what
when
where
whether
why

Silent H

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
honest
honor
heir
herb

Pronounced H

H is pronounced at the beginning of these common words. Use the article "a" with voiced H.

hill
history
height
happy
hangover

Silent K

K is not pronounced when followed by N at the beginning of a word.

knife
knee
know
knock
knowledge

Silent L

L is often not pronounced before L, D, F, M, K.

calm
half
salmon
talk
balk
would
should

Silent N

N is not pronounced following M at the end of a word.

autumn
hymn

Silent P

P is not pronounced at the beginning of many words using the suffix "psych" and "pneu".

psychiatrist
pneumonia
psychotherapy
psychotic

Silent S

S is not pronounced before L in the following words:

island
isle

Silent T

T is not pronounced in these common words:

castle
Christmas
fasten
listen
often
whistle
thistle

Silent U

U is not pronounced before after G and before a vowel.

guess
guidance
guitar
guest

Silent W

W is not pronounced at the beginning of a word followed by an R.

wrap
write
wrong

Silent W

W is not pronounced with these three pronouns:

who
whose
whom

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