A silent letter is a letter that, in a particular word, does not correspond to any sound in the word's pronunciation.

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Why are silent letters used? [duplicate]

Why are silent letters written when we don't speak them? For example, we write knife and speak "nife". So k is silent. But why do we write k then?
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Silent letters in English [closed]

With the help of dictionaries, I’ve assembled a list of letters that can be silent in English: For most letters, I found more than one example, what are the other examples of a silent z ...
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2answers
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Is it “a hemisphere” or “an hemisphere”? [duplicate]

Hemisphere begins with a silent h, like honest for example. The case of honest feels natural; a honest man simply sounds wrong. But hemisphere? I don't know if it is because I rarely use this word, ...
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4answers
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Why is “cupboard” pronounced with a silent “p”?

According to Google at least, the word "cupboard" originated in late Middle English as denoting a board that held cups. Since then, the word has evolved to mean a kind of cabinet. My question is, ...
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5answers
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In the word “Scent”, is the S or the C silent?

So I saw a post on a funny pictures site... "In the word "Scent", is the S or the C silent?" And I thought I could ask about it here. In particular, how does the pronunciation of "scent" differ ...
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2answers
187 views

Adding “-ing” to a verb ending with a pronounced “e”

When a verb ends with a "e" that is pronounced, do you get rid of the "e" when you add "-ing"? For example, would you say "His karaoking last night was really unique", or "His karaokeing last night ...
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1answer
158 views

Algorithm to determine if an “e” in a word is silent

I'm working on a software that requires me to know if an "e" in a word is silent or not. I thought of using Artificial Intelligence and pattern recognition to determine if the "e" is silent. The AI ...
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3answers
407 views

Why are “some” letters silent in English? [closed]

There are many such words that we all know about, but please explain why the makers of the English language made up words with silent letters?
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2answers
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Why doesn't the silent “e” work on “infinite”? [duplicate]

Why doesn't the silent "e" work on the word "infinite"? What I mean is, why does mate have a long "a", but infinite has a short "i"?
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2answers
346 views

If a letter isn't pronounced but affects pronunciation of other letters, is it still 'silent'?

The 'e' in paste isn't pronounced on its own, but changes the pronunciation of the 'a'. In that case, is the 'e' still referred to as silent?
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4answers
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Pterodactyl and Archeopteryx: Silent P vs Voiced P

These words share the Greek root πτέρυξ (pteryx), meaning feather/wing, but the P in pterodactyl is silent (in the initial position), while the P in archeopteryx (in the middle of the word) is voiced. ...
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Why is the “L” silent when pronouncing “salmon”?

Why is the letter l silent when pronouncing salmon properly?
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Words with a leading silent w

My eldest is a beginning reader. Yesterday we read one of my favorite books, The Wreck of the Zephyr. He pointed at wreck and asked me why that one looked like it said "wuh-reck." I explained that ...
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3answers
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is letter “y” derived from “ij”?

It is my intuition, that the origin of the letter y comes from ij based on the usage in Dutch where it very closely resembles ij in both sound and shape. I would go so far as to say it looks like a ...
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1answer
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Why does a silent “-e” at the end of a word lengthen vowels?

There's a common pattern in English spelling where "short" vowels are pronounced as "long" vowels with the addition of a silent "e" at the end of the word. E.g. bit → bite mat → mate pet → pete ...
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2answers
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Pronunciation of 'host' in Shakespeare's time

Listening to the recent film production of Macbeth with Patrick Stewart, I noticed that Duncan says: Give me your hand. Conduct me to mine host. Obviously, it's in the text (Act 1, Scene 6). ...
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1answer
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Consonant transposition: Why is “Wednesday” pronounced “Wensday”?

It appears like a couple of consonant sounds have been transposed. How, why did that happen?
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4answers
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How did the silent 't' come into all these 'tch' words?

I'm curious as to how so many words with the 'ch' sound have the silent 't' in them. Catch, itch, retch, hatchet, botch etc. The list is huge. They all have different origins, and yet they have the ...
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3answers
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What does the grave accent mark on words mean?

What exactly does the grave accent mean in English? An example from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30: The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan
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3answers
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Where did the “ue” in “tongue” come from?

How I remember being told over and over how to spell tongue! I didn't understand it then; I don't understand it now. What evolution might put a silent "ue" at the end of a word?
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4answers
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Why is the 'w' silent in “sword”?

In RP English, the 'w' in "sword" is silent. Wiktionary suggests /sɔːd/ and /soʊrd/. Why? Are there other words like this? The 'w' is pronounced in words like "swollen", "swoop", "sworn" and "swore". ...
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4answers
510 views

Should I abbreviate word starting with “kn” as “K” or “N”?

Imagine you're abbreviating a title that has a kn-word in it (e.g. Should Know). What is the preferred way? Is it SK or SN?
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2answers
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Is 'r' in Br/Amr pronunciation of Arjmand (Persian word) silent?

Is 'r' in Br/Amr pronunciation of 'Arjmand' (Persian word) silent? (In other words, how is this word pronounced in Br/Amr English?)
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5answers
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How should “often” be pronounced?

I heard people saying "Of-fen" as well as "Of-ton". Till now I have been using the first one but few days ago I had an interviewer who pronounced often "Of-Ton" while interviewing.
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7answers
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Pronunciation of “cache”

I have been pronouncing the word "cache" as kaysh. I know a few people who pronounce it more like cash, cashay or even catch. After consulting a few dictionaries, it turns out that the correct ...
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Why does English spelling use silent letters?

Why have a letter in a word when it’s silent in pronunciation, like the b in debt? Can anyone please clarify my uncertainty here?
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Aspirated letters vs. Silent letters

How are aspirated letters different from silent letters when pronouncing a word?
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When should I use “a” versus “an” in front of a word beginning with the letter h?

A basic grammar rule is to use an instead of a before a vowel sound. Given that historic is not pronounced with a silent h, I use “a historic”. Is this correct? What about heroic? Should be “It was a ...