Syllable Types

Every word is made from syllables. The English language has 6 syllable types: Open, Closed, R-controlled, Vowel Team, Silent-e, and C-le.
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Open Syllable

  • An open syllable has only one vowel.
  • The vowel has a long sound (like the 'i' in line).
  • The vowel is the last letter of the syllable.
  • Open syllables have no more than one consonant between the open syllable and the next vowel.
  • examplesba-by,  fe-male,  i-vy,  fro-zen,  & Cu-pid
  • listen:

Closed Syllable

  • A closed syllable has only one vowel.
  • The vowel has a short sound (like the 'i' in mill).
  • If the word is only 2 letters, it must end with a consonant.
    • examples:  in, on, of, at, & it
    • listen:
  • If the word is 3+ letters, a closed syllable has 1 consonant before and 1 (or more) consonants after the vowel.
    • examplescat, catch, net, nest, web, man, roll, & bark
    • listen:
  • If a word has 2 closed syllables next to each other, there will be two consonants between the vowels.
    • examples:  win-ter, sum-mer, com-mon, & tem-per
    • listen:
Fun Fact
The longest one-syllable
words have 9 letters!

R-Controlled Syllable

  • A vowel, diphthong, or triphthong that has an "r" or a "re" ("r" with a silent "e") after it.
    • examples:  deer, whis-per, worth, care, & fire
    • listen:
  • R-controlled vowels are usually pronounced in a different way because they are "controlled" by the r.
    • er, ur, & ir vowels sound like the er in "her"
      • examples:  per, fur, her, birth, shirt, & hurt
      • listen:
    • some ar vowels sound like the ar in "far"
      • examples:  par, far, car, & star
      • listen:
    • other ar vowels sound like the ar in "share"
      • examples:  pair, hare, hair, & stare
      • listen:
    • or vowels sound like the or in "for"
      • examplesor, for, floor, & door
      • listen:
Vowel Team Syllable
  • A group of 2 to 4 letters, usually vowels, which make a single vowel sound.
  • If a vowel team is made of 2 vowels, usually only the first vowel is pronounced.
    • examples:  rain, fail, suit, & clean
    • listen:
  • A vowel team can create a long or short vowel sound.
    • examplestoast, look, saw, feel, wear, & bread
    • listen:
  • If a vowel team syllable has a consonant in it, the vowel is usually pronounced differently from normal vowels.
    • exampleswalk, loud, sound, though, te-di-ous, tight, & straw
    • listen:
  • Fun fact:  Vowels teams are usually old words whose pronunciation changed over long periods of time. They're only learned through practice and recognition.
Silent-e (VCe) Syllable
  • The silent-e syllable is also called VCe, which stands for Vowel-Consonant-e.
    • It consists of a vowel, followed by a consonant, followed by an "e" that is silent.
  • It's usually the last syllable in a root word.
  • The vowel has a long sound (like the 'i' in line).
  • examples:  take, cake, theme, line, tone, tune, & ex-ile
  • listen:
C-le Syllable
  • The C-le syllable is also called the Consonant-le.
    • It consists of a consonant followed by an "le."
  • It's usually the last syllable in a root word.
  • Does the word end with 'ckle'?
    • Divide right before the 'le.'
    • examples:  tack-le, freck-le, tick-le, & buck-le
    • listen:
  • Does the word end with 'le' (not 'ckle')?
    • Is the letter before the 'le' a consonant?
      • Divide 1 letter before the 'le.'
      • examples:  ap-ple, rum-ble, fa-ble, & ta-ble
      • listen:
    • Is the letter before the 'le' a vowel?
      • Do nothing.
      • examplesale, scale, sale, file, & tile
      • listen:
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