About 60% of English words contain silent letters. So it’s important for our kids to learn how to spot them.
There are some rules that will help explain which letters are silent, but as with all English rules – there are always exceptions to the rule.
Silent A Words
Rule: A is not pronounced in many adverbs, where the words ends in –ally. For example: stoically, logically.
Here's a list of common silent A words:
Silent B Words
Rule 1: B is not pronounced after m at the end of the word. For example: limb, comb, thumb
Rule 2: B is usually not pronounced before t at the end of a root word. For example: debt, subtle, doubt
Here’s a list of common silent B words:
Silent C Words
Rule 1: C is not pronounced in the combination sc. For example: scissors, scenario, muscle
As we mentioned, there are often exceptions to the rule in English.
Here are the sc exceptions: sclera, sclerosis, muscovado, sceptic
Rule 2: C is usually redundant before the letter k or q. For example: quick, acquaintance
Here’s a list of common silent C words:
Silent CH Words
This one is easy – there is only one silent ch word – yacht.
Silent D Words
Rule 1: D is not pronounced in the following common words: Wednesday, sandwich, handsome, handkerchief
Rule 2: D is also not pronounced in the combination dg. For example: pledge, hedge
Here’s a list of common silent D words:
Silent E Words
Rule: E is most commonly not pronounced at the end of words. For example: peace, homemade, horse
There are exceptions to this rule – giraffe, brunette, cassette, gazelle – for example.
Here’s a list of some of the hundreds of common silent E words:
Silent G Words
Rule: G is often not pronounced when it comes after n. For example: foreign, design, align
The exceptions are magnet, igneous, cognitive, signature
Here’s a list of common silent G words:
Silent GH Words
Rule 1: GH is not pronounced with it comes after a vowel. For example: drought, daughter, light
The exceptions are compound words, such as doghouse and foghorn
Rule 2: GH is sometimes pronounced f. For example: tough, laugh, enough
Here’s a list of common silent GH words:
Silent H Words
Rule 1: H is not pronounced when it comes after w. For example: whisper, what, where
Rule 2: H is not pronounced at the beginning of many words. For example; hour, honest, heir
There are some exceptions here, including hill, history, height, happy, hereditary
Rule 3: H is often not pronounced when it comes after c, g or r. For example: choir, echo, rhythm
Here’s a list of common silent H words:
Silent K Words
Rule: K is not pronounced when it comes before an n at the beginning of a word. For example: knee, know, knock.
Here’s a list of common silent K words:
Silent L Words
Rule: L is not pronounced after the vowels a, o and u. For example: calm, would, salmon.
The exceptions to the rule are: halo, bulk, sulk, hold, sold, fold and mould.
Here’s a list of common silent L words:
Silent M Words
There is only one silent M word – mnemonic.
Silent N Words
Rule: N is not pronounced when it comes after m at the end of a word. For example: solemn, hymn, autumn.
There are exceptions, including chimney, alumni, circumnavigate, dimness, gymnastics, randomness.
Here’s a list of common silent N words:
Silent P Words
Rule: P is not pronounced at the beginning of many words using the combinations ps, pt and pn. For example: pseudonym, pneumonia, psychologist.
Here’s a list of common silent P words:
Silent PH Words
Rule: PH is sometimes pronounced F. For example: telephone, alphabet.
Here’s a list of common silent PH words:
Silent S Words
Rule: S is not pronounced before l and in the following words.
Here’s a list of common silent S words:
Silent T Words
Rule: T is not pronounced in many common words, including:
Rule: U is not pronounced with it comes after g and before a vowel. For example: guess, guitar.
Here’s a list of common silent U words:
Silent W Words
Rule 1: W is not pronounced at the beginning of a word where the letter that follows is r. For example: write, wrong, wrist.
Here’s a list of common silent W words:
Rule 2: W is not pronounced in the following words: