English Language Blog

Silent letters in English Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in English Language


The presence of ‘silent letters’ in English words is one aspect of learning to read and speak English that many English language learners find difficult and unfortunately the English language has a lot of silent letters. Silent letters in words are letters that are written in the word, but not pronounced when the word is spoken. Silent letters can cause difficulties for both native speakers and English learners alike, so it is important to try and learn to recognize the silent letters found in commonly used English words.  Below I’ve listed a number of English words that have silent letters. You will notice though that I have taken the silent letters out of the words. See if you can figure out what the words are and what the letters are that are missing. Remember the missing letters in these words will be “silent” when you say them, but they should be present when you write these words. When you are done with this little exercise you might also want to check out this website where you can click on English words that contain silent letters and hear how to pronounce them correctly.

First, give this a try. Try to figure out what silent letters are missing in the words in this list. The answers are below.

1. w_ite
2. _ours
3. clim_
4. gover_ment
5. colum_
6. ha_f-time
7. ex_ibition
8. resi_n
9. _holesale
10. ve_icle
11. enviro_mental
12. _sychology
13. han_kerchief
14. cas_le
15. _rite
Answers: 1. h; 2. h; 3. b ; 4. n ; 5. n ; 6. l ; 7. h ; 8. g ; 9. w ; 10. h ; 11. n ; 12. p ; 13. d ; 14. t ; 15. w

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.


  1. nisha:

    hi i m nisha i m not good communicator in english . i want to know why pi silent in pneumonia and n is silent in government. when my kids asked i can,t answer them.