Silent Letters

Silent letters are letters that are written in a word, but are not pronounced. English has many words with silent letters, and it can be difficult to know when a letter is silent or not. In this lesson, we will explore some common examples of silent letters and learn how to identify them in words.

Silent E

The most common silent letter in English is the letter E. In many words, E is written at the end of the word, but is not pronounced. For example, in the word “cake,” the E is not pronounced. The E changes the sound of the preceding vowel, making it a long vowel sound. The word “cat” has a short “a” sound, but the word “cape” has a long “a” sound because of the silent E.

Silent K

Another common silent letter is the letter K. In some words, the K is written but not pronounced. For example, in the word “knee,” the K is silent. Similarly, in the word “knock,” the K is silent.

Silent H

The letter H is also silent in some words. For example, in the word “hour,” the H is silent. The same is true for the word “honest,” where the H is not pronounced.

Silent W

The letter W is silent in a few words. For example, in the word “answer,” the W is silent. Similarly, in the word “sword,” the W is silent.

How to Identify Silent Letters

Silent letters can be difficult to identify, but there are some rules that can help. Here are a few tips for identifying silent letters in words:

Look for patterns

Silent letters often occur in groups of letters, such as KN or GH. If you see these groups of letters in a word, the letters are likely to be silent.

Check the history

Silent letters often come from the history of the word. For example, the silent K in “knife” comes from the Old English word “cnif.”

Check the dictionary

If you are unsure about whether a letter is silent, check the dictionary. The pronunciation guide will tell you whether the letter is pronounced or not.

Listen carefully

When you hear a word, try to listen for all the sounds. If you can’t hear a particular letter, it might be silent.


Now that you know more about silent letters, it’s time to practice identifying them. Here are some words with silent letters. See if you can identify which letters are silent:

  1. Knee
  2. Know
  3. Hour
  4. Island
  5. Answer
  6. Sword


  1. K
  2. K
  3. H
  4. S
  5. W
  6. W

Silent letters can be tricky, but with practice, you can become better at identifying them. Knowing about silent letters can also help you improve your pronunciation and spelling. Remember to look for patterns, check the history, and listen carefully when trying to identify silent letters in words.

Descriptive Writing