10 silent letters you should check

Feb 18, 2019 | Blog

Georgie Harding

Speech Pathologist

How to pronounce: words with silent letters

How horrible is the spelling of English!?!

It’s a non-phonetic language and this is one of the reasons why pronunciation of English is such a challenge. 

Many words in English have silent letters. Silent letters are letters that you can’t hear when you say the word, but that are there when you write the word.

There are some silent letters that most students know, for example ‘b’ in ‘climb’. But there are some silent letters that are traps for many non-native speakers and as a result, I often hear them pronounced incorrectly.

So here is a list of the 10 most commonly mispronounced words that have silent letters.

The letter ‘d’ is silent in:
sandwich /ˈsæn.wɪdʒ/ and Wednesday /ˈwenz.deɪ/

The letter ‘p’ is slient in:
cupboard   /ˈkʌb.əd/  and receipt   /rɪˈsiːt/

The letter ‘b’ is silent in:
debt  /det/ and plumbing /ˈplʌ.mɪŋ/.

The letter ‘e’ is silent in:
vegetable /ˈvedʒ.tə.bl̩/  and every  /ˈev.ri/ and evening  /ˈiːv.nɪŋ/

The letter ‘n’ is silent in:
government /ˈɡʌ.və.mənt/

You can correct lots more commonly mispronounced English words with videos on our youtube channel

Open your ears and listen carefully to the way people around you speak English.

Listen as much as you can to the sounds they make.

With a full Speech Active course, you’ll correct over 500 commonly mispronounced words. Select your first language to see how a tailored Speech Active English Pronunciation Course will help you level up your spoken English. 

As you improve your listening, picking up things like how to pronounce words with silent letters will get easier and easier.

Good luck!

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