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Pronunciations 02 - More Silent Letters
The word 'calves' contains a silent letter L.

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.
1.
Choose the sentence that is false with respect to silent letters.
The words 'sign' and 'signal' contain silent letters.
The words 'havoc' and 'pound' contain no silent letters.
The words 'rift' and 'uphill' contain no silent letters.
The words 'would' and 'column' contain silent letters.
Though in 'sign' the G is silent, in 'signal' it is not silent. When other word forms are created from a root word with a silent letter the silent letter is not necessarily silent any longer. Another word derived from 'sign' is 'signature', in which the G is not silent
2.
Choose the sentence that is false with respect to silent letters.
The words 'frail' and 'free' contain no silent letters.
The words 'islet' and 'rustle' contain silent letters.
The words 'solemnise' and 'solemn' contain silent letters.
The words 'rap' and 'resort' contain no silent letters.
Though in 'solemn' the N is silent, in 'solemnise' it is not silent. When other word forms are created from a root word with a silent letter the silent letter is not necessarily silent any longer. Another word formed from 'solemn' is 'solemnity' in which the N is not silent
3.
Choose the group in which one of the words contains more than one silent letter.
know, knight, fasten
rheumatism, psephology, pseudo
receipt, champagne, signage
could, raspberry, wriggle
All the words except 'knight' have one silent letter. In 'knight' K, G and H are all silent
4.
Choose the group in which onlyone of the words contains a silent letter.
papaya, mild, keel
animal, pencil, sand
owl, dig, paper
tax, faux, mix
All the words have no silent letters except for 'faux', where the X is silent
5.
How many silent letters are there in the word PHLEGM?
Zero silent letters.
Three silent letters.
Two silent letters.
One silent letter.
The only silent letter is G. It is generally understood that PH carries the F sound as in PHOTO
6.
Choose the sentence that is false with respect to silent letters.
The words 'daisy' and 'domain' contain no silent letters.
The words 'bombard' and 'bomb' contain silent letters.
The words 'knife' and 'design' contain silent letters.
The words 'redoubtable' and 'indebted' contain silent letters.
Though in 'bomb' the second B is silent, in 'bombard' it is not silent. When other word forms are created from a root word with a silent letter the silent letter is not necessarily silent any longer. Another word derived from 'bomb' is 'bombardier' where the second B is not silent
7.
Choose the group in which one of the words contains two silent letters.
align, knead, salmon
dodge, grudge, pledge
feign, what, psychotic
edge, knowledge, fudge
All the words except 'knowledge' have one silent letter. In 'knowledge' both the K and D are silent
8.
Choose the group in which only one of the words contains a silent letter.
hanger, elephant, unit
amusing, midst, hoop,
nap, mnemonics, smart
sugar, big, hangar
All the words have no silent letters except for 'mnemonics', where the first M is silent
9.
How many silent letters are there in the word DESIGNATORY?
Zero silent letters.
Two silent letters.
Three silent letters.
One silent letter.
There are no silent letters in the word 'designatory', though its root word 'design' has a silent letter G
10.
Choose the group in which only one of the words contains a silent letter.
hazy, admit, kind
hazard, rendezvous, hazel
material, quark, kill
eraser, tomato, fig
All the words have no silent letters except for 'rendezvous', in which the Z and the S are silent
Author:  V T Narendra

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