Words with ‘invisible syllables’ can be tricky to pronounce because what you see isn’t what you say!

Words with invisible syllables, means words where we don’t say one of the syllables in a word written with 3 or more syllables.

A word in English can be broken down into letters, and also syllables. It’s important to know which syllables are omitted when we say a word for 2 reasons:

  • you won’t pronounce it correctly and so people won’t understand you
  • you won’t use the correct stress and rhythm pattern of the word

A syllable is a section or chunk of an English word, and each syllable has to have a vowel. You can clap or tap the syllables to figure out how many there are. In the case of words with invisible syllables, you just have to learn how to say them, and which syllable is ‘invisible’ or omitted.

In this audio lesson we’ll go through some common words where this happens. This will also help to bring this to your attention so you begin to listen for this in other people’s speech. Then you can modify your speech accordingly.


Words With Omitted Syllables

interest  (the ‘er’ is missing)

business  (the ‘i’ is missing)

average  (the ‘er’ is missing)

vegetable  (the ‘e’ is missing)

naturally  (the ‘u’ is missing)

several  (the ‘er’ is missing)

conference  (the ‘er’ is missing)

chocolate  (the second ‘o’ is missing)

every  (the ‘er’ is missing)

different  (the ‘er’ is missing)

family  (the ‘i’ is missing)

desperate (the ‘er’ is missing)

memory  (the ‘or’ is missing)

camera  (the ‘er’ is missing)

temperature  (the ‘er’ is missing)

favourite (favorite)  ( the ‘or’ is missing)


Best wishes, Esther

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