Pronunciations 02 - More Silent Letters
By looking at the words KNOCK, AISLE, DAMN, GLISTEN and WRITE what information do you gather? Are there any commonalities between them? You might have guessed it! They are all words that have letters in them that are silent when you pronounce the word.
In KNOCK, the first letter K is silent.
In AISLE, the letter S is silent.
In DAMN, the letter N is silent.
In GLISTEN, the letter T is silent.
In WRITE, the letter W is silent.
There are many such words that have letters in them which are not made use of in their pronunciation. While there are no specific rules that are made for such words, certain conventions are followed. Sometimes it becomes difficult to fathom how such conventions came into being!
In the case of TROUGH, BOROUGH and THROUGH, though the last four letters are same, the pronunciations are different. Phonetically they might be spelt - TROFF, BURRA and THREW.
In the case of the words GUISE and GUITAR, the second and third letters are the same but the pronunciations are very different - GIZE and GITTAR.
There are some words that contain more than one silent letter. PSALM is a five letter word but with a silent S and L. Phonetically it could be spelt - SARM.
Some of the words can confound you. In HALVES and CALVES the L is silent but in the words VALVES, RESOLVES and EVOLVES which are spelt similarly, the letter L is not silent.
Once you start using the words regularly in your writing or speech you will become familiar with them. It will make good sense to look up any new word you come across in the dictionary and memorise both the spelling and the pronunciation.
Take the quiz that follows and learn something more about words with silent letters.