60% of the words in the English language have a silent letter. The English language contains only 26 alphabets and has been influenced by other languages like French and Latin. Therefore it can be a hard language to learn especially if you are not a native/bilingual English speaker.

Basic rules for silent letters

Silent B

In words that end with the suffix “mb”, b becomes silent. For example, in words like comb and numb, where b comes after m at the end of a sentence it becomes silent. So the pronunciation of the word comb is “com”.

In root words i.e., words that are in their original form and no prefixes and suffixes have been added to them, b is not pronounced if it comes before t. For example, words like debt, doubt and subtle are pronounced as “det”, “da-out” and “su- tle”, respectively.

Silent C

C is not pronounced in the SC combination, or when it comes before K or Q in a word. Some examples are Muscle, Ascent, Fascinate, Acknowledge, Acquit, etc. Although there are some exceptions such as Sclera, and Sceptic.

Silent D

D is not pronounced when it comes before G in a word, like Pledge, Hedge, etc. Some popular words with silent D are, Handsome, Sandwich, Wednesday.

Silent G

With some exceptions, G is silent before N. Some examples are Sign, Feign, Align. The exceptions include, Magnet, Cognitive. The combination GH is silent when it follows a vowel. For example, Sigh, Weight, Might, Daughter etc. When two complete words are combined, this rule becomes redundant. For example, Doghouse, Bighead, etc.

Silent H

H is silent when preceded by W. When, Why, Whether, are some examples of this. H is also silent at the beginning of many words like Hour, Heir, Honest. H is also silent when it comes after the letters C, G, or R. Example, Choir, Ghoul, Rhythm.

Silent K

K is silent in words where it is followed by N at the beginning of a word. For example, Knife, Know, Knead etc,

Silent L

With some exceptions, L is silent after the vowels A, O and U. For example, Calm, Should, Folk. The exceptions include Halo, Sulk, Bulk. hold.

Silent N

Hymn, Solemn, Column are examples of words where N is silent when it comes after M at the end of a word.

Silent P

The letter P is silent in combinations PS, PT and PN, usually at the beginning of words like Psychiatrist, Pseudo.

Silent S

In words where S comes before L, S is silent. Example Island, Aisle, Isle.

Silent U

In words where U comes in between G and a vowel, it becomes silent. For example, Guess, Guitar, Guard.

Silent W

At the beginning of a word when W is followed by R, it becomes silent. For example, Wrap, Wrong, Wrist, Wring, Wrestle.


Frequently asked questions

What are some commonly used words with silent letters?

Some commonly used words with silent letters are Wednesday, hate, sign, honest, knife, mnemonic, autumn, column, condemn, damn, hymn, solemn, aisle, island, debris.

What are some top scoring words with silent letters in scrabble?

Some top scoring words with silent letters in scrabble: Succumb, Conscience, Fluorescent, Resuscitate, Transcend, Handkerchief, Wednesday, Vegetable, Champagne, Archaeology, Choreograph, Monarchy, Parliament, Knowledge, Psychotherapy.

What are the words with the most silent letters?

Words with most silent letters are Beaulieu (correctly pronounced as Bewley), Warwick( correctly pronounced as Worrick) and Gloucester and Leicester (correctly pronounced as Gloster and Lester)

What are some words with silent first letters?

Some words with silent first letters are knack, knave, kneel, knead, knee, knew, knickers, knife, knight, knit, knob, knock, knoll, knot, know, knowledge, knuckle.

What are some words with silent last letters?

Some words with silent last letters are Aplomb, Bomb, Climb, Comb, Coulomb, Crumb, Age, Breathe, Bridge, Change, Gene, Hate, Like, Love, Vegetable, Autumn, Column, Damn, Hymn.

Is the letter G silent in ‘Gnome’?

Yes letter G is silent in ‘Gnome’.

What are some top scoring words with silent letters in scrabble?

Some top scoring words with silent letters in scrabble are Playwright, Silhouette, Christmas, Psychotherapy, Psychology, Psychiatrist, Pneumonia, Knowledge, Knuckle.

What are some words with silent middle letters?


What are some commonly misspelt words with silent letters?

Some commonly misspelt words with silent letters are Climb, bomb, crumb, numb, comb, Knee, knit, knight, knot, knitting, Castle, butcher, match, and listen, Ghost, honest, what, mechanic, Wrap, answer, wreck, whole.

How many words are there that start with a silent letter?

Over 90 words in the English language start with a silent letter. Some examples are Writing, Gnu, Gnomonic, knurl, Heir, Honest, Hour, Herb, Knight, etc.

Do silent letters count in the game of scrabble?

Yes, even though you are not pronouncing the letters, they are a part of the word, and the word won’t make any sense if the letters are missing. Therefore, the silent letters account for the points scored.

How can I know if the word contains a silent letter?

Generally, this comes by practice. The more you know the language the easier it will be for you to recognize the silent letters. There are certain rules, as mentioned, that will help you identify some common silent letters. Of course, there are some exceptions to the rules but with practice, it will become clear.

What is the most common everyday use of a word with a silent letter?

We use the word and the application WhatsApp every day. It is one of the most commonly used everyday words with a silent letter that is “h”.