Silent Letters in English A to Z with ALL RULES | British Accents and Pronunciation

Silent Letters in English A to Z with ALL RULES | British Accents and Pronunciation

(uplifting music) – Hello everyone, and welcome back to English with Lucy. So you might have noticed that recently I’ve been doing a series on things you should never do in English, or things you should never say. And you guys seem to be
reacting really well to it and really enjoying it. So I’m back today with another video. This time about letters that you should never ever
pronounce in British English. Yes, so today we’re going to be talking about silent letters in
British English words. I’m going to run through
the letters alphabetically. It’s going to be really
easy for you to understand. Really easy for you to remember and revise at a later date. Before we start the lesson, I would just like to remind you of a fantastic opportunity from the sponsor of today’s video, which will help you boost your
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€800 back into your account. I think that is a really great motivation to commit to those three months and achieve your language goals. For more information, click on the link in the description box. And if you do decide to sign up, use my code, “STUDY1” for that discount. Right, let’s get on with the lesson. So as you know, English is
not a phonetic language, which means
(whoosh) although you might see a letter in a word, it doesn’t necessarily mean
you have to pronounce it. I’m here to help you with that. So let’s talk about the letters that you should never
pronounce in English. The silent letters in English words. I’m going to go through them from A to Z. Giving you as many examples as I can possibly fit into this video. I really do advise that
you make a note of these and try to use as many as possible throughout your daily life. That way it really gets
stuck into your head. Okay, so when should you
not pronounce the letter A? Well, when it comes just before
“lly” at the end of a word. Look at the word on screen. How many syllables should this word have? How many syllables? If you thought three, you’re correct. It should be “lo-gic-ally” We don’t say “log-i-cal-ly,” it’s just logically. Some other examples are artistically, romantically, musically. It might be a good time now to mention the homework
for today’s lesson, which is to add any extra words you can think of in your A to Z list, and please share them in the comments. Let’s see who can
contribute the most words. I’ll be looking out for them. (whoosh) Right, let’s move onto B. So the B in words is usually silent when it comes before a T, or after an M. Let’s look at before a T. We have subtle. Subtle. No B there. We also have debt. Debt. And what about after an M? We have comb. Comb. Womb. Womb. Tomb. Tomb. Bomb. Bomb. Plumber. Plumber. Thumb. Thumb. Now there are exceptions to these rules. For example the word obtain. It comes before a T,
yet you pronounce the T. Or remember. Remember. So next we have C. The letter C is usually silent
when it comes after an S and before I, E, or Y. For example, scissors or science. Another miscellaneous one is muscle. Muscle. And yacht. Yacht. So there is one rule for the letter D. It’s normally silent if it
comes before an N or a G. For example, Wednesday, pledge, grudge. Other common words include sandwich, handsome. Now silent E’s form a big
part of the English language. In lower school or primary school, we used to call them “Magic E’s”. Because by putting an
E at the end of a word, the vowel before it normally
becomes a longer vowel sound. For example, mat changes to mate. Or strip changes to stripe. Other examples include face, hate, cute, tube. What about the letter G? The letter G is normally not pronounced if it comes before an N. For example, align, align. Foreign, foreign. There are exceptions to this rule, like magnet or signature. G is also not pronounced
if it comes after a vowel and before an H. For example, high, light, through. Please do note, though, that GH is pronounced
separately in compound words. Like doghouse. That’s two words put together. Or foghorn. Another fog, horn. Two words put together. Sometimes GH is pronounced like an F. For example, laugh, draught, tough. Right, let’s talk about H on it’s own. It’s normally silent when
it appears after a W. For example, why, what, when. However sometimes it’s not silent. Especially if an O follows it. Who, whoever, wholesome. H is also silent at the
beginning of many other words, like hour, honest, honour. Remember with an unvoiced H, you have to use the article an. An hour. An honest man. In general, most words
beginning with H are voiced and you should use the a article. A happy dog. A hair. Let’s move onto K. The letter K is almost always silent when it comes before an N
at the beginning of a word. For example, knight, knight. Knife, knife. Knowledge, knowledge. What about the letter L? The letter L is not usually pronounced if it comes after A, O or U. For example, calf, calf. Should, should. Yolk, yolk. What about the letter N? The letter N is usually silent if it comes after an M
at the end of a word. For example, autumn, autumn. Column, column. Damn, damn. Ah the letter P. This one has got a bit more meat to it. The P is usually silent in the letter combinations PS, PT, and PN, used at the beginning of words. For example psychology, psychology. Pterodactyl, pterodactyl. I’ve always wanted to get a
dinosaur into one of my videos and I have done it. Ah, I did not know my
New Year’s resolution would be so easy to achieve. Pneumonia, pneumonia. Now, P and H together is
sometimes pronounced like F. Elephant, elephant. Telephone, telephone. The letter S. The letter S is not pronounced before L in the following words, island, island. That’s a really common mistake I hear. I hear “is-land”, “ize-land” Same for isle, isle. Now T as a silent letter. It’s quite hard to come
up with a definitive rule. But commonly, anything ending in S-T-E-N, it’s likely to have a silent T. For example, listen, listen. Moisten, moisten. And also S-T-L-E. Whistle, whistle. Castle, castle. Other notable words are words derived from French like ballet, ballet. Beret, beret. And then other random ones like often, often. Although you will hear that pronounced as “of-ten”, “of-ten.” In fact I was brought up to say “of-ten.” Alright we’re getting
close to the end now. What about the letter U? The letter U is usually silent if it comes after a G at
the beginning of a word. For example, guess, guess. Or guide, guide. And moving onto the letter W. The letter W is usually not pronounced if it comes before R at
the beginning of a word. For example, wrong, wrong. Wrap, wrap. Write, write. It is silent, however, if
it’s followed by an H and an O at the beginning of a word. Like who, who. Whoever, whoever. Whole, whole. And then there are other
random words like two, two and sword, sword. The letter X. The only word I can think of is at the end of a word
derived from French, faux, faux. It’s a commonly used word in English. And the letter Z. Another French word,
rendezvous, rendezvous. We don’t pronounce the Z there. Right that’s the end of today’s lesson. Please do complete the homework. I would like to see as many
more examples of silent letters in English words as possible
in the comments section. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for you. Don’t forget to checkout the
Lingoda Language Marathan. I’ve got the link to my
full announcement video and also the sign up link and discount code in the description box. Don’t forget the connect with
me on all of my social media. I’ve got my Facebook, I’ve got my Instagram and I’ve got my Twitter. And I shall see you
soon for another lesson. Muah.
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100 thoughts on “Silent Letters in English A to Z with ALL RULES | British Accents and Pronunciation”

  1. An example of an x you don't pronounce – the Native American tribe Sioux, is pronounced like the name "Sue"

  2. A-liar
    K- knee
    …I am not sure about "xylophone" but that is the best that I could do.

  3. Thought about another silent X to help you. The word is Xylophone. The instrument played with a round soft pad at the end of stick and chiefly played by the great TV Astronomer, dear old Sir Patrick Moore, sadly, no longer with us. Keep up the good work babes. Your a hoot.

  4. pity on us so since 9 years i was many teachers of mine had taught me inaccurately consonant sound no solution it must be begun at the first line… break a leg

  5. contribute [kənˈtrɪbjuːt];
    distribute [dɪˈstrɪbjuːt];
    attribute (vb.) [əˈtrɪbjuːt];
    attribute (n.) [ˈætrɪbjuːt]).

    While we're at it:
    mischievous [ˈmɪstʃɪvəs];
    nuclear [ˈnjuːkliə(r)].

  6. This is an old video, but it seems you went straight from L to N and skipped over M? You could have had the silent M in mnemonic…

  7. informative video.
    But what is the reason behind or usefulness for having these silent letters which makes pronunciation so complicated.

  8. have you released a video about pronouncinɡ namesʔ
    here in my contry we always listen to bad pronunciations in some famous names in enɡlish. /sti:fən hɔ:kiŋ/ in stead of /sti:vᵊn/ or on tv we never hear /reif fainz/ ralph fiennes… I'm from Chile… we aren't used to hearinɡ the correct pronunciation of some names… there must be typical mistakes I ɡuess…

  9. Thanks a lot, this video enlightened me.
    gnome has silent G.
    Anyway the group tough-thought-taught-though-draught makes us – English learners – all mad.

  10. Despite I learned English in school and university my level of speech and sound understanding was very poor, because the goal of Soviet education was – “to read and translate with vocabulary”! Any contacts with a foreign peoples was forbidden. As result- when I try to find a word in vocabularies I spelled all letters of this word. This terrible habit stay with me from 1960’s years. All our English teachers never visited English speaking countries, because USSR was close society like North Korea or Iran today. Your lecture very useful for getting speech experience. Thank you. With love and respect from Moscow!

  11. Hello Lucy! Could you please tell me if it's incorrect/wrong to pronounce victory/satisfactory/mystery… without the (er) sound = victry/satisfactry/mystry? Load of thanks for your valuable lessons! Don't stop please.

  12. There was an older British woman in my French class here in America and she told me she was taught to write, "an hotel". I thought she was mad until I found an old reference to it. For years almost no Americans said the T in often, but now it has become fashionable with young people.

  13. Thank you for this lesson, because learning the rules of the pronunciation is more important than learning how to pronounce each word individually.

    I'd just like to ask some questions. You said we shouldn't pronounce the "t" in "often" and the "h" in "white", in British English. However, I notice than the Americans pronounce the "t" in "often" and the Singaporeans pronounce the "h" in "white". Are those pronunciations correct?

  14. Wow, I'm about to become fluent in English, but didn't know about these rules lol. Now I realized that I had been pronouncing a lot of words in a wrong way, WTH?

  15. Even though I’m French, my absolute goal is to speak like you. Your accent is gorgeous and you pronounce all the words so well I can understand you perfectly

  16. You said “d” is silent before “n” and “g”, you gave some words where the “d” is after “n” eg. Handsome.

  17. wrap or write w comes before r we dont pronounce so what about this Norwich, W is not at the beginning and it is after r. Do we pronounce w or not sister? Thank you for your answer! oh it got another one "answer" ha ha

  18. Why on earth you would not pronounce all the letters in a word? Who invented english? I don't see the point but for english teachers like you it must be the holly grail cause you have a job for life trying to teach english to all confused students of the world.

  19. When you use the indefinite article for a word beginning with a ‘h’ you always use ‘an’ in written, but not in spoken

  20. Hi Lucy, what about the other silent letters in between words, such as "L" as in "walk" and "talk", or "R" as in "world" and "ward" and "hard"…

  21. Hi Lucy, you have come up with another excellent video. Congrats. Sad it is underrated but I am sure this video contains so much that even language teachers – like me – should learn from. From now on, you are my idol. Please keep up the good work. Regards 😊

  22. Dear Lucy,
    Could you please make a video to demonstrate how to pronounce -tly, such as, importantly, silently, in the British way?

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