What Are Some Rules for Breaking Words Into Syllables?

When dividing words into syllables, the number of vowels heard in a word corresponds to the number of syllables. Silent vowels, such as an "e" at the end of a word, do not indicate a syllable nor do a pair of vowels with a single sound, such as "au" in "caught." Tips for splitting a word into syllables include dividing compound words, such as "camp/ground," and separating prefixes and suffixes from the base words, such as "re/turn" and "high/er."

Divide a word into syllables between two middle consonants, such as "hap/pen;" before a middle consonant, such as in the word "ro/tate" and before the consonant before "le" in words such as "ta/ble." Also, when there are vowels on both sides of two single-letter consonants in words such as "lan/tern" and "pain/ter."

There are six types of syllables in the English language. Closed syllables have only one vowel and end in a consonant, such as "an" and "luck." Open syllables also have only have one vowel, but the vowel comes at the end of the syllable in words such as "ski" and "be."

A third type of syllable is the silent-e syllable, which ends in the letter "e" and has only one consonant before the "e" and only one vowel before the consonant. Examples are "mice" and "plate." Vowel combination syllables are those containing two or three vowels that partner in a single sound. Vowel-r syllables have one vowel or vowel combination followed by an "r," as in "pare" and "pair." The final type of English language syllable is the consonant-l-e syllable, as noted, that is divided before the consonant before "le."