It can be a bit embarrassing when you realise you’ve pronounced a letter in a word that is meant to be silent!

To help you master your English accent, this time we’ll focus on words with a silent /w/ in them.

English Audio Training Lesson


Don’t Pronounce the ‘w’ in these words

There are lots of words in English that are spelled with a ‘wr’ at the beginning.  Take note:

When ‘w’ is before ‘r’ at the beginning of a word, it is always silent. 

An interesting fact: The ‘w’ in the ‘wr’ used to be pronounced. Most ‘wr’ words are Germanic in origin in which both of these letters are pronounced (although the ‘w’ sounds more like /v/).  Although we have retained the ‘wr’ spelling in English, we stopped pronouncing the ‘w’ around the 1450s to 1700s, except in some dialects.

For example: wrap, wrist, write, wrong, wrench, wriggle.

Besides these ‘wr’ words there are also some others you should know about that have a silent ‘w’.

More Words With a Silent ‘w’

two, answer, sword ( said ‘sord’), awful, awry ( said ‘ahrie’), Norwich, whole, who, whose.

For some extra words with a silent ‘w’ have a look here.

For training on words with a silent ‘p’ in them look here.

Best wishes, Esther

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