Remember the Pronunciation Rules from last time? Fascinating stuff, isn’t it?
So now we’ll continue to:
Pronunciation Rule 3
Also named bossy E or sneaky E. Same thing.
The rule of Magic E means that whenever your CVC word gets an e added at the end, the vowel in that word will sound like the name of that letter.
So the a in lake sounds like the letter A.
The u in fuse sounds like the letter U.
The i in bike sounds like the letter I.
The o in rose sounds like the letter O.
The e in Zeke sounds like the letter E. (Zeke is a boy’s name.)
Try reading these basic Magic E words:
(With e there aren’t too many examples, because the Magic E in words with e appears in more complex words.)
Harder Words with Magic E
Now try some harder words. Whilst you’re looking at the words, try to figure out where the Magic E applies:
The Magic E is here: complete, so this e in complete sounds like the letter E.
The Magic E is here: turbine, so this i in turbine sounds like the letter I.
The Magic E is here: debate, so this a in debate sounds like the letter A.
The Magic E is here: devote, so this o in devote sounds like the letter O.
The Magic E is here: dispute, so this u in dispute sounds like the letter U.
Now try to say these words:
appreciate (the rule applies to the e and the second a)
irritate (the rule applies to the a)
advise & advice
Magic E Words and their Variants
The same magic E sound for the vowels continues in words that are derived from the magic E words (= they have the same root).
I’ll give you an example to show what I mean: complete.
We said that complete has a magic E. So the first e in that word is said like the letter E in the alphabet. That same e sound is kept in the word completion. The e in completion sounds like the letter E.
Another example: erode.
We said that the o in erode sounds like the letter O, because of the magic E. So erosion will have that same O-sound.
Another example: delude.
The letter U-sound will also be heard in the words deluding and delusion.
Yes, I can hear you thinking, that’s very nice, but that means I’ll have to know all the words and their derivatives (their word families). Well, yes, that can help. But you will develop a knack (= a feeling) for this anyhow once your English gets better and better.
So nothing to worry about.
Now practise saying the following words:
These words are all somehow related to a magic E word, so you’ll know how to pronounce the bold vowels.
mode & modular
size & sizable
race & racial
mate & mating
lumen & luminous, luminary, luminescence (I’m looking in the dictionary here!).
immune & immunization & immunity
ice & icicle & icing
whole & holism
haste & hasty
tone & tonal & tonality
behave & behaviour & behaviouristic
base & basic & basically
swine & swinish
Swede & Swedish
skate & skating (you’d be amazed how many people say the word skating with an a like in cat).
delete & deletion & deleted & deleting
enthuse & enthusiastic
pole & polar
promote & promotion & promoted
phone & phonic & phoney
muse & music & musical & musicality
decide & decisive & decided & deciding (but decision is said with an i like in tip).
deplete & depletion & depleted & depleting
create (pronounce kri-ate) & creation & creative & creator & created & creatively
So now we’ve talked about the basic rules for pronunciation. There are more rules.
We’ll get back to them some day…