I would like to know why, when dividing the word mimic into its syllables, is it divided as "mim" and "ic" and not "mi" and "mic". Is there any rule to this?


One rule of English pronunciation which is actually correct sometimes is that the vowel in an "open" syllable is "long" while the vowel in a "closed" syllable is "short".

Thus, if "mimic" is divided as "mi-mic" then the first syllable is "open" (has a trailing vowel) and so the "i" would be "long" (and "mi" would be pronounced "my"). If the word is divided as "mim-ic", though, the "i" is "short", and the pronunciation of the first syllable would be "mem" (as in "memory").

Like all such rules, there are many, many exceptions, but this one often works for "sounding out" an unfamiliar word (if you can first figure out the syllable splits).

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.