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Resources -> Other Resources -> Spoken English Tips -> Silent Letters

Silent Letters

These are those letters in words which are not pronounced when we say the word. In other words, these letters or alphabets are written when spelling the word but not said out loud verbally. This is mainly because of the changes in pronunciation that the English language has seen over the centuries, in olden times the silent letters used to be pronounced and the spellings also varied greatly. On this page we have listed out the different types of silent alphabets and examples of the words they are used in.

Silent B

The alphabet ‘B’ is not pronounced when it comes after ‘M’ in a word

Climb

Plumber

Tomb

Comb

Silent C

'C' is not pronounced in words like

Muscle

Scissors

Acquire

Silent D

'D' is not pronounced in words like:

Sandwich

Wednesday

Edge

Silent G

The alphabet is not pronounced when it comes before ‘N’ or ‘M’

Gnat

Diaphragm

Silent GH

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

Rough

Through

Alight

Light

Borough

Silent H

‘H’ is not pronounced when it comes after ‘W’

Why

Whether

Where

Sometimes the ‘H’ is silent for some words, even when it is the first letter of the word

Hour

Heir

‘H’ is not pronounced when it comes before ‘Y’

Thyme

Rhyme

Silent K

Whenever ‘K’ is followed by an ‘N’ at the beginning of a word, ‘K’ is not pronounced

Knot

Knight

Knock

Knowledge

Silent L

‘L’ stays silent in most words when it comes before ‘D’,’ F’, ‘M’, ‘K’.

Yolk

Half

Calm

Talk

Should

Silent N

‘N’ is not pronounced when it follows ‘M’ in a word

Autumn

Column

Silent P

‘P’ remains silent when it starts a word and is followed by ‘sy’ or ‘ne’

Pneumonia

Psychotic

‘P’ is also not pronounced in certain words like

Psalm

Receipt

Silent S

We usually avoid pronouncing ‘S’ when it comes before ‘L’ in words like

Island

Aisle

Silent T

‘T’ is not pronounced in words like

Castle

Beret

Listen

Depot

Whistle

Gourmet

Silent U

‘U’ is not pronounced in words when it comes after ‘G’ and is followed by a vowel

Guess

Colleague

Guitar

Tongue

Silent W

We avoid pronouncing ‘W’ when it begins a word and is followed by ‘R’

Wrist

Write

Wrong

‘W’ is not pronounced in these three pronouns

Who

Whose

Whom

It is also avoided in words like

Two

Sword

Answer

Silent X

‘X’ is not pronounced in most words that have come from the French language

Faux Pas

Bordeaux

Silent Z

‘Z’ remains silent in the word

Rendezvous