Magic E

Estimated reading: 2 minutes

The next syllable in the sequence is Magic E. Magic E is also known as VCe. The Magic E jumps over the consonant and makes the vowel say its own name. One of our favorite videos is here!

IMSE refers to the ‘e’ at the end of a word as Magic E only when it makes the vowel long. When it’s not a Magic E, it’s an orthographic marker that we call silent e. Examples of this include: 

  • Adding e to the end of a word that ends with a v or u. English words do not end with v or u. Therefore, an e must be added (love, give, have, blue, true). 
  • Adding e after g or c, makes it soft (face, page).
  • Every syllable must have a written vowel. Therefore, in consonant le syllables, an e is added even though it’s not making a sound (the consonant mixed with the l is making the schwa sound). Examples include: candle, waffle, bundle.
  • Adding e after s helps us identify whether or not it is singular or plural. For example, “hous” without the e may be mistaken for a plural. Therefore an e is added to identify it as singular: house (plural would be: houses). 
  • Adding e after th makes it voiced. The word breath has an unvoiced /th/. Add e to create breathe. Now the th is voiced. More examples include: teeth, teethe and cloth, clothe. 
  • The e also gets added to distinguish between words that sound the same or look similar. Consider: or vs. ore; teas vs. tease.

The letter ‘e’ in the English language has some pretty remarkable responsibilities. Start by teaching students basic Magic E. Use the Syllable Division Teacher Guide and Syllable Posters.  Introduce the other reasons for ‘e’ at another time.