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Summary of Six Types of Syllables in English Orthography

Syllable Type

Examples

Definition

Closed

dap-ple
hos-tel
bev-er-age

A syllable with a short vowel, spelled with a single vowel letter ending in one or more consonants.

Vowel-Consonant-e(VCe)

com-pete
des-pite

A syllable with a long vowel, spelled with one vowel + one consonant + silent e.

Open

pro-gram
ta-ble
re-cent

A syllable that ends with a long vowel sound, spelled with a single vowel letter.

Vowel Team
(including diphthongs)

aw-ful
train-er
con-geal
spoil-age

Syllables with long or short vowel spellings that use two to four letters to spell the vowel. Diphthongs ou/ow and oi/oyare included in this category.

Vowel-r (r-controlled)

in-jur-i-ous
con-sort
char-ter

A syllable with er, ir, or, ar, or ur. Vowel pronunciation often changes before /r/.

Consonant-le(C-le)

drib-ble
bea-gle
lit-tle

An unaccented final syllable that contains a consonant before /l/, followed by a silent e.

Leftovers: Odd and Schwa syllables

dam-age
act-ive
na-tion

Usually final, unaccented syllables with odd spellings.