Silent T words are tricky even for native speakers. It's not at all uncommon to hear native speakers pronounce the word often off-ten. There are a few simple patterns you can learn to make sure that you're keeping those silent Ts silent! Read on!
When Is T Silent?
The "rules" for silent T are these: if you see -STEN, -FTEN, or -STLE, you should assume that the T is silent.
A lot of other silent letters are silent at the beginning (like G and K) or end (like B and N) of words. Silent T is a little different. It usually becomes silent because it gets "sandwiched" between two other consonant sounds, and it's easier to say if you leave out that T, which requires a lot of effort.
The chart below contains a word list of over 20 examples of words with silent T. Are you pronouncing them all correctly?
|listen||/ˈlɪsən/||v.||to pay attention to sound|
|glisten||/ˈglɪsən/||v.||to shine with wetness|
|moisten||/ˈmɔɪsən/||v.||to make moist|
|christen||/ˈkrɪsən/||v.||to make Christian or give a name|
|chasten||/ˈtʃeɪsən/||v.||to moderate or restrict in behavior|
|soften||/ˈsɒfən/||v.||to make softer|
|whistle||/ˈwɪsəl/||v.||blow air through the lips to make sound|
|thistle||/ˈθɪsəl/||n.||a common prickly plant|
|castle||/ˈkæsəl/||n.||a large fortified medieval building|
|wrestle||/ˈrɛsəl/||v.||to fight using grappling|
|nestle||/ˈnɛsəl/||v.||lie comfortably within something|
|pestle||/ˈpɛsəl/||n.||heavy tool for crushing food in a mortar|
|gristle||/ˈɡrɪsəl/||n.||tough cartilage in meat|
|mortgage||/ˈmɔːrɡɪdʒ/||n.||a contract to borrow money for a house|
|rapport||/raˈpɔːr/||n.||a friendly relationship|
|gourmet||/ˈɡɔːrmeɪ/||adj.||of a refined taste in food|
|ballet||/ˈbæleɪ/||n.||an artistic dance form|