5 Jobs of Silent Letter e

5 Jobs of Silent letter e

While reading English spellings we encounter many silent letters.  When my son asks me why do we have silent letters in English spellings I just tell him to ignore the letter and read.

We have many silent letters in English. And the most common letter we see is silent letter e. While most of the silent letters have no purpose silent letter e have some jobs to be done. That means there is some reason for including silent letter e in the spellings.

1. Make the vowel before it say its name

Observe the sound of vowel ‘a’ in the word cake. It is not same as vowel ‘a’ phonic sound in cat or mat. In the word ‘cake’ we are saying vowel ‘a’ name.  It is because of silent e in the end.

Silent letter e make the vowel before it say its name.

Here are few more examples






2.Change the sound of c and g

Letter c and g have two sounds.

C – /k/ and /s/ (cat, cell)

G – /g/ and /j/ (goat, Giraffe)

When you see the silent letter e after either c or g remember to use /s/ and /j/

Here are few examples





silent letter e

3. Keep u and v from being the last letter in any word

In general any word in English do not end with either u or v. there =fore you will see silent letter e after letter u or v in many words.

Here are fe examples





silent letter e

4. To show word is not plural

In general we add s to make a word plural in English. But it does not mean every word that ends with letter s is plural. Consider the word house. The letter e has no sound here. And without silent letter e the sound of the word hous would not change. To show hous is not plural silent letter e is added in the end house.

Here are few more examples



Exceptions are high frequency words as has was and other double ss words pass, mass etc.

So job of silent letter e is to show that this word is not plural

silent letter e

5. Every syllable has a vowel

A syllable is single unit of sound.

Consider the word planet

It has 2 syllable pla , net.

Each syable a=has a vowel. So many time silent letter e is added to a syllable where there is not vowel.

Here are few examples




silent letter e

There are few more jobs of silent letter e which comes with many exceptions. There might be no reason sometimes for why this silent letter e is added in the spelling. It is said silent letter e is added without any reason when the English words are borrowed from other languages.

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