Silent Letters

Listen to the following words. They all contain silent letters:

 plumber autumn wriggle

There are many words in English that contain silent letters:  ‘plumber’ has a silent < b >, ‘autumn’ has a silent < n >, ‘wriggle’ has a silent < w >.

 

Why does English have silent letters? How can I categorise them?

  • In words beginning or ending with a < gn > or a < kn >, the < g > or the < k > will be silent.
    E.g: gnome, gnaw, know, knight.
  • Words containing < mb > at the end of the root will have a silent < b >. Similarly, < b > is not pronounced at the end of a word (or a root) when it comes before a < t >
    E.g: dumb, bomb, doubt, debt.
  • Words containing < mn > at the end will have a silent < n >.
    E.g: hymn, column, damn, solemn.

DRILL

Repeat the words:

thumb, comb, gnome, knitting, column, hymn, wrote, wrist

EXERCISE

Circle the silent letters:

wrangle, lamb, column, knee, wren, align, limb, kneel, wretched, plumber, wrong, gnostic, wriggle, crumb, knot

wrangle, lamb, column, knee, wren, align, limb, kneel, wretched, plumber, wrong, gnostic, wriggle, crumb, knot