Silent 'T' (Silent Letter Series) - Podcast Episode 8

Audio Transcript
Welcome to episode 8 of The English Sessions. The silent ’t’. I am your host and English teacher, Mike Butler. These podcasts can help you improve your English! Together, we will talk about grammar… pronunciation… structure... and have some fun too. Remember to visit my website, to contact me for private lessons, and for more content.
You can also read the transcript of this audio on the website, as you listen to this episode.

Before we begin our lesson today, I want to thank Julieta Gonzalez for doing the homework from last week. Do you remember the homework assignment? Let’s travel back in time (cue sound effect)

—— And here is some homework for all of you. Another word that starts with an “H” that is often silent but not always, is “homage”. “H-O-M-A-G-E”. Your homework is to research what this means and send me a sentence using this word! Remember to go to to record a voice message or write an email to ——

Let’s see what Julieta wrote. She says “Homage = special honor or respect shown publicly”. That’s right! And her sentence: “All the students will pay homage to their eldest teacher next Saturday.” Fantastic Julieta! A+. There will be another homework assignment at the end of this episode.

Listen for these words today:
    ⁃    Castle - a large structure, often fortified against attack, with thick walls and towers

    ⁃    Mortgage - The payments you make for a home loan
    ⁃    Buffet - a large meal with many dishes, where you serve yourself. For example, “This buffet was disappointing. All of the food was cold!”
    ⁃    Ballet - a type of dance, with very graceful movements

    ⁃    Hustle and Bustle - a lot of busy movement and activity. “The hustle and bustle of the big city”.
    ⁃    Debut - is the first appearance of someone or something. “This film is the director’s debut”. 

Let’s continue our series on silent letters. Sindy in Brazil suggested the silent ’t’, as is ‘listen’. The word ‘listen’ has a silent ’t’. Let’s talk about some other words that have a silent ’t’.


Okay, let’s stop there for now. I will provide some examples for these. CASTLE: This castle was built 500 years ago! MORTGAGE: Uh oh, I am late on my mortgage payment! AND BUFFET: “I ate everything at the buffet today!”

But wait a minute! (cue record scratch). I bet you’re saying, “Mike, but I’ve heard this word, B-U-F-F-E-T with the ’t’ sound before! That’s right, because there is ANOTHER way to use this word. Buffet (with ’t’ sound). “Buffet” can be a verb. Listen carefully. The wind will buffet the fence in a wind storm. You see, ‘buffet’ (t) has a very different meaning. “To buffet” means to be hit or struck repeatedly.

“The wind will buffet the fence in a wind storm. I will hopefully eat a big buffet again in a restaurant someday. This will help you avoid confusion in the future when talking or listening in English.

Okay, so what are some other common words with a silent ’t’? How about: BALLET (sp); HUSTLE (sp) BUSTLE (sp). Do you enjoy going to the ballet? Do you prefer the hustle and bustle of a city over the quiet countryside?

Okay, I want to introduce one more word and then use all of them together. The final word is ‘debut’. That’s right, D-E-B-U-T. “The musician debuted her first full-length album yesterday”. What a crazy way to pronounce this word! Many of these words today come from the French or were originally French words. Tracing the history of words is called ‘etymology’ and is a big interest of mine. I encourage my French speaking students to leave a message to talk about the pronunciation of the ’t’ in the French language.

Okay, here we go. My attempt at using all of these words together in a very short story. Hmmm… “The ballet debuted in the castle. There was a buffet, as well as plenty of hustle and bustle. The owner forgot to pay the mortgage on the castle, so everyone had to leave. One more time? Okay…

Here’s a new homework assignment for everyone. Write a story for me using all of the words you learned from today’s lesson. What other words can you think of that have a silent ’t’? Did you hear any other words with a silent ’t’ today? Include those words in your story too! You can record your story on the website,

I want to thank Daniel Zappone for becoming a Patreon supporter of The English Sessions! For only $5USD a month, he now has access to all of the bonus content material you will only find by becoming a supporter. Go to

Any questions? Write to me at . Leave a message for me on the website, and I will play it on the podcast. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast so you won’t miss an episode. Visit for more content. Please rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Until next time, this is Mike signing off. 

Sound Effects Used:


Popular Posts