Silent Final E: The –le Ending Rule

Silent Final E with Shurley english Rule 3.jpg

Back again with Part 3, which I call The –le Ending Rule for Rule 3.  If you have been checking in with my blog posts, I have been delving into the hows and whys of Silent Final E. (So far, we have discussed Rule 1 and Rule 2.)

Students easily understand this Rule 3 because it only has two major guidelines: 1) the word has to be more than one syllable long, and 2) the last syllable ends with –le. Sometimes, the last syllable may end with an “R” and needs a Silent Final E, but not as often in early vocabulary. Look at these examples. Imagine how they would be pronounced without the silent e.

Silent Final E Rule 3 with Shurley eNglish 1.png

Did you notice that the pronunciation doesn’t really need the e in the final syllables? That’s because the last syllables in each of these examples contains an “L” (or an “R”). In the world of linguistics, “L” is sorta bossy…it likes to act like a syllable all by itself, even without a vowel to go with it. In an English syllable, that’s a No-No. So, we fix it by adding a Silent Final E after the syllabic “L”.

To recap, Rule 3 generally applies ANYTIME a multi-syllable word ends up with only consonants in its last syllable. Since all English syllables must have at least one vowel, we use an e. Look at the last syllables in these examples for a review. Now do you know why the e is there?

Silent Final E Rule 3 With Shurley ENlgish 2.png

Next time, we’ll conclude this series with The Catch-all Rule for Rule 4!

(This post is part of a series on Silent Final E. To start at the beginning, click here.)

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David Lutz

David, a former classroom teacher, administrator, and self-proclaimed grammar nut, considers the oddities of English vocabulary and grammar his playthings! He received his degrees in elementary education, teaching, and curriculum design from CMU in Fayette, MO, and the University of St. Mary, Leavenworth, KS, respectively. His career has been a colorful collage of experiences in education, ranging from Kindergarten to Adult education and parenting classes.


He and his wife, Marjorie, have been blessed with 30 years of marriage, three grown sons, a cherished daughter-in-law, and the smartest, cutest grandson on the planet! He’s worked for Shurley Instructional Materials, Inc., for over 11 years and loves to help students and their teachers learn to love language and language learning as much as he does.