Rules for silent 'e'

That Sneaky, Silent ‘E”! (part two)

Posted on Posted in Spelling

In last week’s blog, I gave you three reasons that sneaky, silent final ‘e‘ is in many English words. Here’s two more reasons.  These are a bit more complicated, but stay with me!

Rule #4  No vowel in the Syllable
e.g. little, puzzle, purple
Every syllable in English must have at least one vowel.

'Puzzle'-why the silent 'E'?
‘Puzzle’-why the silent ‘E’?

When there are no vowels in the syllable, we add a silent final ‘e’.  There are ten syllables where this occurs.

ble   trou  ble            -kle    pic kle                                                             
cle    un cle               -ple   pur ple
dle    rid dle              -sle   has sle
fle    muf fle              -tle    whis tle
gle    gig gle              -zle   puz zle


Rule #5    No Job E
e.g. are, house, come, promise

Sorry, this isn’t really a rule!  There are some words that just don’t have a reason for that final silent e. It may have come from an old English pronunciation. In this case, the silent ‘e’ serves no purpose.   Sometimes we call it a ‘No Job E’.


Test yourself.
In the following sentences there are six silent ‘e’ words.  Do you know why each of them is silent?  Answers are at the bottom of the page.

Come and have lunch today at John’s. I hope you like pickle sandwiches and ice cream!



If you’d like more help with English spelling, contact me for private English lessons.  I am also available for Skype lessons.





come -rule #5 ,      have-rule#2,          ice -rules #1 and #3,        pickle- rule#4,        hope/like-rule#1


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