Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Unpronounced or unstressed silent letters are one of the obstacles ESL students are really afraid of. There are mostly no rules for. I´ve selected lots of them from different sources. Take care ! they are chosen for American English. Most of them are correct in British English too, but there are many exceptions.

V I E W the Silent Letters on

Download the - Silent Letters - as pdf file (52 KB)
Selected words with silent/unstressed letters V.03 (Focus AE)

Download via

Download via


Spelling trouble ?, Silent letters in word endings ?

- iz or - ize ?

There aren´t any words ending in "English" with - iz besides some names and "quiz", "biz", "viz" and "wiz"..
It is always spelled - ize and never - iz !

- iv or - ive ?

There aren´t any words ending in "English" with - iv besides some names and "spiv".
It is always spelled - ive and never - iv !

(And I wasn´t able to find ONE adjective that ends with - bel, it´s always - ble, beside constructions like "label strips" or "own-label")

Spelling trouble with silent letters in word endings + adverb suffixes ?
There´s a simple rule until you achieve enough proficiency to know all those words:

? Which one is right spelled:

Immediatly or Immediatley or Immediately ?

The ending ..TLY follows always a consonant
The ending ..TELY follows always a vowel

(see exceptions)

Consonant -> TLY
Vowel -> TELY (ately, etely, itely, otely, utely)


So, is there a vowel before t then

a vowels follows the t - tely

Exceptions: Explicitly, Implicitly, Illicitly, Tacitly, Flatly, Hotly, Greatly, Neatly, Discreetly, Quietly, Secretly, Sweetly, Wetly, Adroitly, Devoutly, Stoutly, Tautly

Is there a consonant before t then

a consonant (L) follows the t - tly

Exception: Chastely

You can find 4,900,000 Google entries with the wrong spelled word "immediatly" with omitted e and 246,000,000 right spelled entries for immediately.

And funny, you can find 725,000 entries with "immediatley"