Silent Final <e> and Stress
1. Final <e> Deletion Rule. You delete a final <e> that marks a soft <c> or a soft <g> only when you add a suffix that starts with <e>, , or <y> you delete a final <e> that is only marking a long vowel when you add a suffix that starts with any vowel
2. You have seen that one of the things silent final <e> does is to mark a vowel as long in a VCV string at the end of a word. So rat has a short sound, [a], but rate has a long one, . The silent final <e> in rate fills out the VCV string and the first vowel is long: rate.
But sometimes silent final <e> does not mark the vowel in front of it as long. For instance, in the word engine the is not long even though the silent final <e> makes a VCV string: engine.
The rule is this: Silent final <e> only marks a vowel long if the vowel has strong stress.
In the word decide the strong stress is on the : decide. So in decide the silent final <e> marks the as long. But in the word engine the strong stress is on the first <e>, and the has weak stress: éngine. So in engine the silent final <e> does not mark the as long.
3. Mark the strong stress in each of these words. Remember that when a word has two vowel sounds, the strong stress is usually on the first vowel — not always, but usually:
4. Now sort the words into this matrix:
Words with strong stress on the last vowel sound:
Words with weak stress on the last vowel sound:
Words in which the final <e> marks a long vowel:
Words in which the final <e> does not mark a long vowel:
5. A silent final <e> only marks a long vowel if the final vowel sound in the word has strong stress.
Item 3. You may want to review the teaching notes for Lesson 19, which introduces the distinction between weak and strong stress. Missile has a variant pronunciation, usually British, with stress on the second , which is pronounced [i].