Silent letter U
U is not pronounced when it comes after G and before a vowel. In these words, the U serves to make a hard g-sound.
The letter U may take on the sound of W, especially after a G or a Q.
In these words, the letter U does not create a hard g-sound. The G is a part of the nasal form —ing— or —ong—.
The same rule applies when the letter U follows a C. The U is silent, but serves to make a hard-c sound.
U is also silent in words of mainly French derivation with the suffix —que.
cheque [UK; check, US]
U is silent in few other words.
quay (pronounced kee)
- Make a sentence using words with a silent U and then sound them out.
Special reading assignment
- Uglifruit is a trademark name for a Jamaican tangelo, a hybrid cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit (or pomelo).
- Is it our Ulster team that is the underdog? That’s unusual.