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Beware of These 10 Silent Consonants in English

Silent Consonants

Written by Meryem Kennedy

Meryem has worked with students of all ages from all over the world. As a teacher for over 25 years, she has taught at high schools, universities, colleges, and language institutions, in addition to private tutoring. Her education includes three university degrees: English Teaching, Applied Linguistics, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

What are Silent Consonants?

In this article, I will help you recognize and understand silent consonants.

English is not a phonetic language, where each letter corresponds to one sound. Even though there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, there are 44 sounds. No wonder spelling in English is challenging.

Sounds in English - Silent consonants
Silent-consonants-in-English

One of the difficult aspects of English spelling is the silent consonants in words. It helps to be aware of these when we write. Some of the silent letters are there because they were borrowed from other languages, such as Latin, Greek, or French. Even though they were “borrowed,” these words are here to stay, so the best thing to do is to know that they exist and learn to spell them correctly.

Silent Consonants

I am sure you have met these letters that do not identify themselves in a word and require us to literally pass them by without making a sound. The following is a list of 10 of the most common silent consonants and examples:

Silent Consonants 

  1. Silent K – know, knee, knife
  2. Silent H – honor, heir, honest
  3. Silent P- psychology, psalm, receipt
  4. Silent B -lamb, debt, subtle
  5. Silent L- talk, should, salmon
  6. Silent S- debris, aisle, island
  7. Silent T- ballet, buffet, listen
  8. Silent W- write, answer, sword
  9. Silent C- science, indict, scent
  10. Silent G- sign, gnat, align

 

  1. Mary knows a lot of people.
  2. It is an honor to be here.
  3. What is your favorite psalm?
  4. A young sheep is called a lamb.
  5. She should find a new job.
  6. Which aisle has coffee?
  7. What kind of music do you listen to?
  8. He is not answering his phone. 
  9. These roses have a wonderful scent. 
  10. Gnats are annoying little insects.

 

Silent consonants wreaking-havoc

Need help?

You can find more information in my video:

Beware of These 10 Silent Consonants in English

I have given examples for each of these silent consonants in the video below. Feel free to review them often. 

Conclusion

As you have seen, English spelling can be challenging when silent consonants are present. It is important to be aware of these silent letters and learn to spell the words that have them correctly. Take the time to learn these so they do not wreak havoc on your work. Come back on occasion to watch my video, and soon you will become an expert on using silent consonants.

Silent Consonants

More Info on Silent Consonants

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Merriam-Webster

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