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The Complete List of
English Spelling Rules

Lesson 3:
Kn- and Wr- at the Beginning of Words


In this series of lessons, you will learn useful spelling rules in English.

This lesson talks about two common letter combinations at the beginning of words in English: kn- and wr-.

a woman writing

Download a free worksheet + answer key.

In both of these combinations, the first letter is silent. We only pronounce the second letter.

For example, spelling is very important if you want to write English correctly. The common verb "write" contains an example of the wr- combination at the beginning of the word. The w is silent, and the r is pronounced.

The same thing happens with the kn- combination at the beginning of a word.

a knight in armor on a horse

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Centuries ago, knights wore armor and protected people.

In this word, the k is silent, but the n is pronounced.

Since these two combinations are common, they are easy to recognize. Any time you see either of these combinations at the beginning of a word in English, you will know that the first letter is silent, and the second letter is pronounced.

Let's look at a few more examples of words with kn- at the beginning.

a man knocking on a door

Before you open a door, you should knock. If the person inside says it is all right, you can use the knob to open the door.

The knob is the round handle that lets you open the door. Both of these words, "knock" and "knob," have kn- combinations at the beginning. So, the k is silent, but we pronounce the n.

Here are a few more common words like this:
  • knife
  • know
  • knit
  • knuckle
  • knot
  • knowledge

Now, let's look at some common words that begin with wr-.
a girl with a wrapped gift

For example, sometimes we wrap gifts in colorful paper so that people can enjoy opening them.

The word "wrap" begins with the wr- combination. So, the w is silent, but the r is pronounced.

Here are a few more common words like this:
  • wreck
  • wrist
  • wrinkle
  • writer
  • wrong
  • wrench

You will see other examples as you continue to study English. Learning these letter combinations is very useful because it will really help you to pronounce and spell English words correctly.

Look at our worksheet on kn- and wr- letter combinations for more examples of common words.

Review

So, let's review what we have learned about the kn- and wr- letter combinations in English:
  1. These letter combinations are common at the beginning of English words.

  2. The first letter is silent.

  3. The second letter is pronounced.

Download a free worksheet



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