The silent L

In some languages, when you read a new word, you can guess how it’s pronounced, even if you’ve never heard it before.

However, this isn’t true of English. Some groups of letters are pronounced in several different ways, and some letters aren’t pronounced at all.

Today we’re going to look at the letter L, and some examples of when you don’t pronounce it in words.

Sometimes we pronounce it when it comes before the letter D in words like “told” or “cold.

But when it’s OULD as in could, would or should, the L is silent and the words rhyme with “hood” or “wood”.

Two exceptions to this word are the words “shoulder”, and “mould” or words from this family such as “mouldy”. In these cases, we do need to pronounce the L.

Similarly, we pronounce the L before the F in “shelf” or “elf”.

But we don’t pronounce the L before the F in “calf” or “half”.

We do pronounce the L when it comes before a K in “milk” or “silk”.

However, we don’t pronounce it in words such as “yolk” or “folk”. These words rhyme with broke or stoke.

We don’t pronounce the L before the M in words like “calm”, “balm”, or “palm”.

Can you think of any more?

I have a similar post about the silent T.

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Author: Kirsty Wolf

I am an English teacher and a language enthusiast who also speaks German and Romanian. I help motivated professionals to improve their English so that they can communicate confidently and authentically.

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