Examples of closed syllable words include "men," "cap" and "sit." Some words contain two closed syllables, such as "absent," "contest" and "fabric." A closed syllable word itself is any word in which the spelling ends with a vowel followed by a consonant, the latter effectively closing the word.
Closed syllables are one of the most common syllabic types found in the English language and are the opposite of open syllables, where no consonant follows the vowel, such as in "he" or "baby." Both closed and open syllables also apply to multisyllabic words, where most individual syllables are one or the other. For example, the first syllables of "happen" and "swallow" are considered open, while the first syllables of "hotdog" and "problem" are closed.
However, some words do present problems for classification, such as the word "kitten." While the first syllable is technically closed because it ends with a consonant, the common pronunciation does not emphasize it, but instead stresses the preceding vowel, suggesting the syllable is open. This may lead to students' offering irregularities in spelling. Nonetheless, teaching students to learn by first speaking and then writing individual syllables, which they recognize as either closed or open, generally helps them become better spellers.