Rules for silent 'e'

That Sneaky, Silent ‘E’! (Part one)

Posted on Posted in Spelling

One of the hard parts of learning to write in English is the spelling.  English spelling is CRAZY!  One of the problems is what I call that sneaky, silent ‘e’.  You never quite know when it’s going to show up, hiding, at the end of a word.

Today and in the next post,  I’ll give you 5 rules and reasons for that silent ‘e’. Maybe I can help you understand when that final silent ‘e’ is going to show up.
Rule #1.  Vowel-Consonant-Silent e
e.g. time, same, fine 
When  a word contains  a vowel, then a consonant, then a final silent ‘e’,  the silent ‘e’  allows the vowel to say its alphabetical name.

Final Sielnt (bossy) E
Time -why the silent E?

In ‘time’, the ‘e’ lets the ‘i’ say /ay/ instead of /I /.  If there was no silent e, the word would be the boy’s name ‘Tim’.
This is the most common reason for using a silent e.

Rule #2.  Words ending in U or V
e.g.  blue,  have
In English, we cannot end a word with a ‘u’ or ‘v’, so we place a silent e at the end of the word.
There aren’t many exceptions to this rule.

Rule #3   Changing the sound of C or G
e.g. micechange 
The silent ‘e’ follows the letters ‘c’ and ‘g’ so these letters can say /s/and /j/.  Without the final ‘e’, the ‘c’ would say /k/ and the /g/ would say ‘g’.
* The sounds of ‘c’ and ‘g’ also change when these letters are followed by ‘i’ or ‘y’.
(city, giraffe)

I hope this clears up some mystery about that final silent ‘e’. Watch for two more reasons for that troublesome ‘e’ in next week’s blog.


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

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