What words have silent letters e.g castle?

There are so many different cases it makes no sense to try to summarize it all in "rules". It works better in most cases simply to memorize the specific words.

BUT you CAN learn some common patterns or GROUPS of words which all have the same silent letter. Here is one attempt to collect some of the most common cases (which I've edited and added a few notes to):

* Kn of Gn at the beginning of a word (silent k/g), e.g. knife, knock, know, gnome, gnaw, gnu

* Ps at the beginning of a word (silent p), e.g. psalm, psychiatry, psychology
* Sc at the beginning of a word followed by 'e' or 'i', (silent c), e.g. scene, scent, science, scissors

* Mn at the end of a word (silent n), e.g. damn, autumn, column (Note that this n IS pronounced in related words -- "damnation, columnar, autumnal")
* Mb at the end of a word (silent b), e.g. comb, lamb, climb.

* Bt (silent b), e.g. debt, doubtful, subtle (but not for the prefix "ob" -- 'obtain', 'unobtrusive')

* Ght (silent gh), e.g. light, night, ought, taught, thought, eight
("-ough" is the trickiest combination, because it has several different pronunciations which are hard to predict. Best just to memorize the individual words)

The letter H is silent in the following situations:
* At the end of word preceded by a vowel, e.g. cheetah, Sarah, messiah;
* Between two vowels, e.g. annihilate, vehement, vehicle
* After the letter 'r', e.g. rhyme, rhubarb, rhythm
* After the prefix 'ex', e.g. exhausting, exhibition, exhort (except when the "ex"-syllable has the accent -- "exhale")
*At the beginning of many Latin words that came to English through French (in which the h was not pronounced), e.g. hour, honor, honest, herb (Later some of these h's began to be pronounced)


I would add --

*Ft and St (silent t) when followed by -en or -le (most of the time): e.g., often,soften, listen, glisten, hasten, chasten, castle, thistle, whistle, wrestle (Words related to these, that END with ft of st, the t IS pronounced: oft, soft, list, haste, chaste, wrest.)

*Lm, Lk, Lf, Lv, Ld at the end of a word, sometimes in the middle (silent l) e.g., calm, psalm, salmon, talk, walk, half, calves, could

For an explanation of how many of these letters BECAMEsilent, see:

silent e" in the combination 'vowel + consonant + e" at the end of words (or before an -s or-d suffix)... This e is not entirely useless, because it often indicates that the first vowel is long

related to this -- doubled consonant before endings the begin with a vowel (such as -ed, -ing), indicate that the vowel before these is short. e.g., stopped, batting; compare bating, in which the first vowel is long
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