Unit 22 - Words with Silent Letters

Many spelling problems are caused by words with silent letters, for example:

knife write bomb ghost

So why are these letters there, if they have no use? Sometimes it is because, hundreds of years ago, these letters were once pronounced. But, over the years, because the words were hard to say, the sounds have died out. Now only their ghosts remain.

Spelling problems with silent letters in English words
Think of these silent letters as the ............................................. 'ghost letters'.

Learning Tip for English spelling The sound of the word is no help when trying to learn words with silent letters. You need to use your eyes and your hand. Try these ways:

1) Use the 'Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check' method.

2) As you write a word, use a 'spelling language' to say it aloud, pronouncing the silent letter. Click below for an example:

knife   knees

3) Make up mnemonics with several words from one list in the same sentence e.g. I know I can't knit knickers with a knife on my knobbly knees.

4) Link the words with another in which you can hear the target letter e.g.

sign - signal
bomb - bombard
nestle - nest
Christmas - Christ
castle - in the past
crumbs - crumbled bread

next part of the spelling course Go to the next page: silent letters k w b t

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Unit 22: Words with silent letters

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