Only whenever a letter is silent, or usually so, do we form Spelling/Pronunciation rules. We cannot spell by rules –there are just too many exceptions. I’ll tell you why we’ve got to forgive our English teachers for torturing us of pop spelling quizzes back then.
B keeps quiet before t, or after m, on the same syllable (e.g. doubt, succumb) – that I’ve already shared few weeks ago. Curious which letter is least silent? You bet! It’s Z, in just one word – Rendezvous. Followed by V in just two words – sevennight and twelvemonth.
F, J, Q, and R are never silent. They are too easy to deal with, aren’t they? No guises, no deceptions. As you see them, don’t hesitate to sound them out. Now, when do other consonants keep quiet? We aren’t clueless, we just notice less when these letters behave as they do.
Do you see this happening? (Think of words where these letters are silent.)
C seems mute before ‘k’ in the same syllable; also, before z (Czech), l, or t, in a few words. D‘s sound is gone before ‘g'(dodge) in the same syllable. G surrenders its voice to ‘m'(phlegm) or ‘n'(sign) in the same syllable. H halts its sound after ‘g‘ or ‘r‘ in the same syllable; and ‘h’ final after vowel is always silent; also, in a few words after t and initial (huge) in a few words. L is silent after ‘a’ when followed by f(calf), m(calm) ,k (talk)or v (except in valve); also before d in could, would, etc. M is sometimes quiet before ‘n’. While N is silent after ‘l’ or ‘m’. P does keep quiet before n (Pneumonia), s (psyche), or t (ptosis). S disappears in a few irregular words; as, isle, puisne, viscount, corps, etc. W is pretty tame before ‘r’ (sword) in the same syllable, also in some words like whoop, two, etc.
Silent digraphs are worth knowing, too. Could you say these words sounding out gh and ch? Laugh, bought, yacht, drachm,etc. Of course you won’t ‘cause it’d be silly, right? A vital question remains, how do we know we are spelling or saying words correctly? By referring to our best buddies: Merriam, Longman, Collins and Webster.
Now let’s forgive our past terror teachers, and stay friends with terrific Sir Dictionary.