“How many syllables?” When a word is difficult to pronounce, sometimes it helps to count the syllable.

Hi, this is Fred; my name’s Fred, spelled F-R-E-D. I’m an American teaching English in Vietnam.

Today I have a pronunciation lesson for you. I wanted to talk about silent syllables. Syllables? You know what syllables are? It’s spelled S-Y-L-L-A-B-L-E. Very important when you’re learning English to listen for and think about how many syllables does a word have.

For example: ham-bur-ger. This one: ham-bur-ger has three syllables. But sometimes one syllable is taken out, there’s one syllable that’s silent. And I have some example of this.

how many syllablesOne example is the word “interesting.” You know? If something is interesting then you want to know about it, it’s exciting. This word, when you look at it written, the writing, it’s in-ter-es-ting. So, writing, it has four syllables: in-ter-es-ting. But speaking, it has only three syllables; you take one out. Take out this one here.

When people say this word, they say it with only three syllables: “intresting.” Spelling: in ter es ting, but speaking: in tres ting. This word, interesting, sometimes a person will say it with four syllables. This one, I think, would be okay both ways. Like if somebody wanted to emphasize this word, maybe they would say, “Very interesting!” It’s also okay, four syllables. Three syllables: more normal in fast speech, normal speech. “That’s very interesting.”

Another one is a very common word: restaurant. You know the word “restaurant”? You go to a restaurant to eat food when you want to eat out. Restaurant. This one, also: res tau rant.

Spelling, writing, it’s res-tau-rant. It has three. But when you say this word: “rest-raunt.” Only two, so take one out. One silent syllable. This one, people… no, you’d never say “res-tau-rant”. Just “restraunt”.

And another one is this word here: comfortable. This one looks like com-for-ta-ble. Writing: four syllables, but speaking: three syllables. “Comfterble.”

“It’s very comfortable; it feels good.” It’s not too big- like if I’m talking about clothes. “My shirt is very comfortable. It’s not too big, not too small. It’s very cool; it feels good. It’s comfortable.”

Okay, and how about one more? You know this word? Chocolate. This one, writing: cho-co-late. Looks like three, but speaking: only two. “Choclate”.

Do you like chocolate? I like chocolate.

I hope that’s useful for you. That’s four examples of words with silent syllables. Shall we say them again?

Interesting. “Very interesting.” This one also sometimes in-ter-es-ting. Both okay.

Next one: restaurant. “Let’s go to the restaurant.” I like eating in restaurants, do you?

And another one: comfortable. “This shirt is very comfortable.” A silk shirt made in Vietnam. Comfortable, and cheap as well.

And the last one: chocolate. “Do you like chocolate?” I like chocolate.

Okay, I hope that’s helpful for you; it’s a little pronunciation lesson.

Knowing how many syllables are in a word can be very useful.


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