Instantly enhance your writing in real-time while you type. With LanguageTool

Get started for free
Back to overview

All About The Silent “L”

powered by LanguageTool

Silent letters can be unpredictable, and the silent “L” is no different. Below, we’ll go over some instances where you can expect to find a silent “L.”

Silent L examples
“Would,” “could,” and “should” all have a silent “L.”
  • A few examples of words with a silent “L” are:
      behalf
      colonel
      salmon
      would
      yolk

The Silent “L”

We know. It’s hard to comprehend that some words are spelled with letters that aren’t pronounced when said out loud. These silent letters make learning proper spelling and pronunciation that much more difficult.

We’re here to help. Below, we’ll go over a few patterns where the silent “L” is typically found and provide a word list.

Words with Silent L
Let’s talk about the silent “L.”

Silent “L” Patterns

Admittedly, the silent “L” isn’t that predictable. If an “L” is found towards the end of the word, before the letters “f,” “v”, “k” and “m,” but after the letter “a,” then it’s usually silent (behalf, calve, walk, almond). In many of these instances, the silent L lengthens the previous vowel sound, which gives the slight impression of the “L” /l/ sound.

Another pattern where the silent “L” is found is after the letters “ou” and before “d” (would). Keep in mind that these aren’t set rules, nor are they the only instances in which the “L” is silent. They are just common arrangements that also have some exceptions; for example, the “L” in valve is not silent.


Silent “L” Words

Here is a list of words with a silent “L.”

  • almond /ˈɑːmənd/
  • balk /bɔːk/
  • balm /bɑːm/
  • behalf /bɪˈhæf/
  • calf /kæf/
  • calm /kɑːm/
  • calve /kæv/
  • chalk /tʃɔːk/
  • colonel /ˈkɜːrnl/
  • could /kʊd/
  • folk /fəʊk/
  • half /hæf/
  • halve /hæv/
  • palm /pɑːm/
  • psalm /sɑːm/
  • salmon /ˈsæmən/
  • salve /sæv/
  • should /ʃʊd/
  • stalk /stɔːk/
  • talk /tɔːk/
  • walk /wɔːk/
  • would /wʊd/
  • yolk /jəʊk/
I prefer almond butter over peanut butter.

Emma only eats the egg whites, never the yolks.


Struggling With The Silent “L?” You Should Try LanguageTool

Silent letters are challenging. A little help could go a long way. LanguageTool—an intelligent text editor that supports more than 20 languages—can make sure your spelling is immaculate, regardless if the word contains a silent letter or not. Additionally, if you use LanguageTool as your writing assistant, it’ll help detect and correct grammar mistakes. Keep calm, and try it for free today.


Unleash the Professional Writer in You With LanguageTool

Go well beyond grammar and spell checking. Impress with clear, precise, and stylistically flawless writing instead.

Get started for free
We Value Your Feedback

We’ve made a mistake, forgotten about an important detail, or haven’t managed to get the point across? Let’s help each other to perfect our writing.