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A quick pronunciation lesson on words that begin with a silent "H". If you'd like me to correct any of your comments, please add (pls correct) at the end of your comment.
Canadian Prime Minister: (0:13)
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Hi guys, welcome back to English with Max. This is going to be quite a short pronunciation tutorial. Today we are just going to look at a few words that start with a silent “h”. That is, we're going to look at some words that being with an “h” that you are not supposed to pronounce. If you are interested in watching my video in which I give a general overview of silent letters, the link is right here.
Mispronouncing words that have silent “h”s in English is a very common mistake. I do think it's one of the more unfair aspects of English spelling as it does seem to go against all logic. I can imagine that if you speak a Romance language like Spanish or French, this is probably particularly annoying for you because you've surely been told from the beginning that you have to pronounce all “h”s in English. You might even have spent hours practicing the "h" going "hhhhh". The vast majority of “h”s in English are pronounced, but there are some exceptions.
Now, I'm not going to give you a full list of all the words with silent "h"s. Like I said, I'm just going to give you some words that begin with a silent “h”.
The first word is "heir". This is pronounced exactly the same way as “a-i-r”, as in the air that we breathe. An heir is a person who inherits or is entitled to inherit something, like a property, a title or a position. It's very important that you don't pronounce the "h" in this word, because if you do, you will be saying “hair”. Unfortunately this mistake was made by the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau when he was sworn in as Prime Minister. I'll put a link to it in the info box below. It was rather unfortunate. Yeah, poor thing.
The next word is "honesty". And all of its derivations, so the adjective "honest" and the adverb "honestly". Honestly, just pretend that the "h" isn't there.
Number 3: honour. And all of its derivations, so the adjective "honourable" and the adverb "honourably". This is the British spelling and this is the American spelling.
The next word is "hour", as in there are 60 minutes in one hour. This is pronounced the same way as "o-u-r", the possessive adjective "our".
The final word I want to mention is the word "herb". Are you thinking: "What? But you just pronounced the "h" there, I'm sure you said it." Yes, that's because in British English we do pronounce the "h". So you can say “Basil is a herb”, “Would you like some herbal tea?” But in American English, this "h" is silent. So the words are pronounced “herb” and “herbal”. Don't worry about this too much though, because it is still 100% correct to say "Herb" or "Herbal", but it is never correct to say "Hour" or “Honour” or "Honest", and unless you're talking about this stuff, do not say "hair".
If you find it hard to remember these words, here is a short sentence that might help you. The honest and honourable heir calls his mother every hour. (Oh, what a good boy!)
I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did, please don't forget to click on the thumbs up, and if you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to write them in the comments section down below. See you next time!