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# 8.6: The Reasons For Some Unusual Spellings of [t]

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

## The Reasons For Some Unusual Spellings of [t]

1. So far you have worked with three spellings of [t]: ____, ____, and ____.

The sound [t] is spelled one of these three ways more than ninety-nine times out of a hundred. And if you remember the places where <tt>\begin{align*}<\text{tt}>\end{align*} occurs and remember that -ed is always a verb suffix, you should have little trouble knowing which spelling to use.

There are some other spellings of [t], though, that are very rare but still worth looking at:

2. [t] = <ght> in several words. Underline the letters that are spelling [t] in the following words:

alightaughtboughtbrightbroughtcaughtdaughterdelighteightfightflightfoughtfreightfrighthaughtyheightknightlightlightningmidnightmightnaughtnaughtynightoughtplightrightsightsleightslightslaughtersoughtstraighttaughtthoughtweight\begin{align*}&\text{alight} && \text{fight} && \text{lightning} && \text{sight}\\ &\text{aught} && \text{flight} && \text{midnight} && \text{sleight}\\ &\text{bought} && \text{fought} && \text{might} && \text{slight}\\ &\text{bright} && \text{freight} && \text{naught} && \text{slaughter}\\ &\text{brought} && \text{fright} && \text{naughty} && \text{sought}\\ &\text{caught} && \text{haughty} && \text{night} && \text{straight}\\ &\text{daughter} && \text{height} && \text{ought} && \text{taught}\\ &\text{delight} && \text{knight} && \text{plight} && \text{thought}\\ &\text{eight} && \text{light} && \text{right} && \text{weight}\end{align*}

Sort the words into the following four groups:

3. The sound [t] is spelled <ght> only after [ī] spelled _____ or _____, or after [ā] spelled _____ or _____, or after [o] spelled _____ or _____.

4. [t] = <tw>. The sound [t] is spelled <tw> in only one word: two. Long ago two was pronounced [twō]. Several words related to two contain <tw>, and all contain the meaning “two.” Answer Yes or No:

Word Do you hear the <w>?
twice
twin
twelve
between
twilight
twist
twine
twig
twenty

5. [t] = <bt>. The sound [t] is spelled <bt> in only three common words: debt, doubt, and subtle. All three were Latin words, used a long time ago by the Romans. Our word debt comes from the Latin word debitum. Our word doubt comes from the Latin word dubitare. Our word subtle comes from the Latin word subtilis.

In Latin both the <b>\begin{align*}<\text{b}>\end{align*} and the <t> were pronounced in these words. But we would find [bt] difficult to pronounce, so we've simplified it to [t].

6. [t] = <cht>. Long ago the Dutch called a fast sailing ship a jaghte. The English borrowed the word and spelled it several different ways, including <yaught>. Back then the <gh> was pronounced with a sound a little like our [ch], so in time the <gh> spelling changed to <ch>. But then over the centuries people stopped pronouncing the <ch>, so we now have a word pronounced [yot] and spelled yacht. This is the only word we have in which [t] is spelled <cht>!

In words like two, doubt, and yacht we can see that when we spell, we do more than spell sounds. Our spelling also shows something about words' sources and their life stories. This can make spelling harder than it might be, but there is always some reason for the spellings we use - even if sometimes the reasons seem a little strange.

7. The sound [t] is spelled <ght> only after _____ spelled <i>\begin{align*}<\text{i}>\end{align*} or <ei>, or after _____ spelled <ai> or <ei>, or after ______ spelled <au> or <ou>. The word in which [t] is spelled <tw> is _____ The three words in which [t] is spelled <bt> are ______, ______, and ____________. The one word in which [t] is spelled <cht> is ______.

Word Changes. Follow the instructions very carefully and then fill in the blanks to complete the sentence at the end:

1. Write the word debt: debt

2. Change the vowel from <e> to <ou>: _______________

3. Change the first consonant to the letter that comes two letters before it in the alphabet, and change the letter before the <t> to <gh>: _______________

4. Change the first consonant to the letter that comes right after <s>\begin{align*}<\text{s}>\end{align*} in the alphabet, and change the first vowel to the first letter of the alphabet: _______________

5. Change the first consonant to the second consonant in the alphabet: _______________

6. Change the first consonant to the next-to-last letter in the alphabet; delete the second vowel letter; and change the second consonant to the letter that comes four places before it in the alphabet: _______________

The sailor went into Word #1\begin{align*}\frac{}{\text{Word} \ \#1}\end{align*} when he Word #3\begin{align*}\frac{}{\text{Word} \ \#3}\end{align*} a Word #6\begin{align*}\frac{}{\text{Word} \ \#6}\end{align*}

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