According my second grade teacher, when you have an e in your word, the letter 'one skip' behind it is pronounced hard. For example, the word name. In 'name', the fourth letter is e, the letter behind it is m, and the second letter is a. Because a is just past e, it is a hard a, pronounced aye.

I am following this rule, ergo, are should be pronounced aye-r, right? I've been stuck on this for a while now.

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    You shouldn't try to deduce the pronunciation of a word from rules if you can help it, because many rules have exceptions. Dictionaries provide information about the pronunciation of words. A dictionary doesn't have the authority to tell you how you "should" pronounce something, but it's not really clear what you mean here by "should". – herisson May 11 '18 at 22:44
  • The "rule" about open and closed syllables is a guideline only, and it only maybe 80% accurate, for a normal collection of English words. – Hot Licks May 11 '18 at 22:45
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    Your teacher is wrong on a very basic level. Letters are never pronounced at all. It's spoken sounds that get written down. And the letters encode not just the pronunciation but a great deal of other things, like etymology for starters. Which is why you cannot, ever, deduce pronunciation from spelling. Not in English, not in any other language. That said, if you're going to come up with rules of thumb for English, "r" makes for a special case. It screws with all the vowels. We have a question somewhere covering this in great detail. Let me check. – RegDwigнt May 11 '18 at 22:45
  • (It's really a guide to use when "sounding out" a word you're not familiar with, while reading some volume of text. If you must know the correct pronunciation, use a dictionary.) – Hot Licks May 11 '18 at 22:46
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    Guess what? Not everything you were taught in second grade is correct. How much would you trust an engineer who last studied math in second grade? There is actually a bit more to learn. – John Lawler May 11 '18 at 23:50