Why is ‘t’ silent in these words Watch, Listen, Butcher

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A “t” is commonly made silent when in words with –sten, -ften, and –stle. For example:
 

  • Glisten
  • Listen
  • Whistle
  • Thistle
  • Wrestle
  • Castle

 
However, there are words which can be pronounced with both a silent or pronounced ‘t’. Such as:
 

  • Soften
  • Often

 
In words where the ‘t’ is paired with ‘ch’, we do actually pronounce it, but not strongly. You can notice your tongue touch the roof of your mouth when saying words with the ‘tch’ sound. This happens when the soft, but not silent ‘t’ is pronounced. Try watching yourself when saying these words:
 

  • Watch
  • Butcher
  • Fetch
  • Match
  • Itch
  • Hatch
  • Sketch
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