List of Common Silent T Words

Knowing when to pronounce the “t” in an English word versus when the letter “t” is silent is an important key to learning how to properly pronounce a number of words. Discover some of the most common silent “t” words and you’ll be on your way to mastering how to say these tricky terms. 

common silent t words examplescommon silent t words examples

Silent T Words Ending With -STLE

Many words with silent “t” have -stle together at the end of the word. The phonetic spelling of each word helps you pronounce it properly. 

Silent “t” Word

Phonetic Spelling

apostle

uh·paa·sl

bustle

buh·sl

castle

ka·sl

gristle

gri·sl

hustle

huh·sl

nestle

neh·sl

pestle

peh·sl

rustle

ruh·sl

thistle

thi·sl

whistle

wi·sl

wrestle

reh·sl

Silent T Words Ending With -STEN

Many words with silent “t” have -sten together at the end of the word. 



Silent “t” Word

Phonetic Spelling

christen

kri·sn

glisten

gli·sn

listen

li·sn

chasten

chei·sn

fasten

fa·sn

hasten

hei·sn

moisten

moy·sn

Silent T Words With -FT

The “t” is not pronounced in some words that have an “f” and a “t” side-by-side in the middle of the word. 

Silent “t” Word

Phonetic Spelling

*often

aa·fn

soften

saa·fn

*The word often is unique, as it can actually be properly pronounced with or without a silent “t,” based on the preference of the person who is speaking. When spoken with an audible “t,” the phonetic spelling would be off·ten.

Words With a Silent T at the End

Words that are French in origin and end with the letter “t” are examples of words where the final letter is not pronounced. 

Silent “t” Word

Phonetic Spelling

ballet

ba·lei

chalet

sha·lei

gourmet

gor·mei

rapport

ruh·por

ricochet

ri·kuh·shei

Other Words With Silent T

A few words in the English language that have a silent “t” don’t really follow any specific rules. For these words, the best option is simply to memorize how to properly pronounce them. 

Silent “t” Word

Phonetic Spelling

chestnut

cheh·snuht (the first “t” is silent

mortgage

mor·guhj

Christmas

kri·smuhs

Alternate Forms: Plural or Past Tense

Some, but not all, of the silent “t” words listed can also be used in plural or past tense forms. For the ones that would be appropriate to use in plural or past tense, the “t” will remain silent when the word is adjusted to add the appropriate suffix (“s” or “es” for plural or “d” or “ed for past tense). For example, if someone is saying that they “listened to two songs,” the “t” in “listened” remains silent. 

Expect Exceptions

There aren’t many absolutes in English grammar. The same is true for pronunciation rules — really just general guidelines rather than rules— for how to tell if a “t” in a word should be pronounced or not. While the circumstances described above are examples of times that the “t” is usually silent, these guidelines do not always apply. 

  • There are terms that represent exceptions to one of the general rules. For example, the word tungsten has -sten at the end, yet the “t” is pronounced in that word. 

  • When you come across an unfamiliar word that appears to follow one of the silent “t” rules, check a dictionary for pronunciation to verify the correct way to say the word. 

It may seem difficult to remember that “t” is sometimes spoken and sometimes silent. However, one of the main reasons the “t” is sometimes silent has to do with how difficult it would be to properly pronounce the word if the “t” needed to be enunciated. If it would be awkward to form the sound of the word if the “t” needed to be pronounced, chances are that’s a word where the “t” should (or can) be silent. 

Silent T Practice Exercises 

Practice your skills when it comes to recognizing words that have a silent “t.” Complete the worksheet questions, then check your answers below. Don’t peek at the answers until after you have answered the questions on your own. 

For each pair of items, choose the option that includes a word with a silent “t”

  1. Which option contains a word with a “t” that is silent?

    a. Please attach this clip to my bag. 

    b. Please fasten this clip to my bag. 

  2. Which option contains a word with a “t” that is silent?

    a. Don’t forget to make your home loan payment. 

    b. Don’t forget to pay your mortgage. 

  3. Which option contains a word with a “t” that is silent?

    a. I must hasten to complete my homework. 

    b. I must complete my homework hastily. 

  4. Which option contains a word with a “t” that should be pronounced?

    a. I thought something stirred in the bushes outside of my window. 

    b. I thought something rustled in the bushes outside of my window. 

  5. Which option contains a word with a “t” that should be pronounced?

    a. That was a gourmet meal. 

    b. That was a fantastic meal. 

Worksheet Answers

The correct answers are:

  1. b

  2. a

  3. a

  4. a

  5. b

Exploring More Difficult Words to Pronounce

Knowing when to pronounce the “t” in a word versus when it is silent can be quite challenging. Now that you are aware of the general guidelines for making this distinction, consider exploring some other pronunciation difficulties. Start by reviewing the most often mispronounced words and phrases in English. This can help you increase your vocabulary as well as your pronunciation skills. Then you can explore another popular silent letter with words that end with a silent “e.”

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