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Syllables | Teaching and Learning Syllables

What Is A Syllable?

A syllable is that part of a word which is uttered by a single effort or impulse of the voice. For example, the word syllable is composed of three syllables: syl, la, and ble.

FYI, PoetrySoup has a sister website dedicated to syllables. This website is a comprehensive syllables website. Go to

syl·la·ble [sil-uh-buh ] A noun, verb, syl·la·bled, syl·la·bling.

Here are other words broken into syllables:

  • rab bit
  • yes ter day
  • to day
  • re peat
  • pre cau tion
  • sig na ture

The easiest way to determine how many syllables are in a particular word is to sound it out (Or use our Syllable Counter); but remember:

  1. Syllables never have more then one vowel sound in them.
  2. Most syllables have a single vowel plus zero or more consonants (occasional syllables have a syllabic consonant rather than a vowel). ii.
  3. Depending upon language-specific rules, syllables have certain numbers of consonants before and after the vowel.

How Many Syllables are in...

Count how many syllables are in a SINGLE word and divide it into syllables. Type one word only.
Use the Advanced Syllable Counter for multiple words.

Free Syllable Resources

Viewing the folder poetry_resources/documents/syllables

Common Syllable Patterns.pdf PDF file 71 KB
intro-to-rules-and-ot.pdf PDF file 58 KB
Open and Closed Syllables.pdf PDF file 52 KB
phonological-features.pdf PDF file 49 KB
rhythm-syllables.pdf PDF file 32 KB
rules-and-ot-analyses-3.pdf PDF file 81 KB
speech-sounds-and-phonemes.pdf PDF file 60 KB
syllable division exercise.pdf PDF file 76 KB
Syllable Types.pdf PDF file 82 KB
syllable-rules.pdf PDF file 13 KB
syllables4.pdf PDF file 68 KB
syllablesCommon Syllable Patterns.pdf PDF file 71 KB
syllablesintro-to-rules-and-ot.pdf PDF file 58 KB
syllablesOpen and Closed Syllables.pdf PDF file 52 KB
syllablesphonological-features.pdf PDF file 49 KB
syllablesrhythm-syllables.pdf PDF file 32 KB
syllablesrules-and-ot-analyses-3.pdf PDF file 81 KB
syllablesspeech-sounds-and-phonemes.pdf PDF file 60 KB
syllablessyllable division exercise.pdf PDF file 76 KB
syllablesSyllable Types.pdf PDF file 82 KB

Basic Syllable Rules

1. To find the number of syllables:
---count the vowels in the word,
---subtract any silent vowels,
(like the silent "e" at the end of a word or the second vowel when two vowels are together in a syllable)
---subtract one vowel from every diphthong, (diphthongs only count as one vowel sound.)
---the number of vowels sounds left is the same as the number of syllables.
The number of syllables that you hear when you pronounce a word is the same as the number of vowels sounds heard. For example:
The word "came" has 2 vowels, but the "e" is silent, leaving one vowel sound andone syllable.
The word "outside" has 4 vowels, but the "e" is silent and the "ou" is a diphthong which counts as only one sound, so this word has only two vowels sounds and therefore, two syllables.

More on basic syllabic rules

Poetry, Syllables, Word Stress and the Metrical Foot

Words are made up of rhythmic units called feet and these comprise one or more syllables. Feet represent the rhythmic structure of the word and are the units that allow us to describe stress patterns. In each foot, one of the syllables is more prominent or stronger than the other syllable(s) and it is called the strong syllable. It is the head of the syllable. The other syllables in the foot are the weak syllables. In “party”, the first syllable is strong and the second syllable is weak.

There are two kinds of feet; left-dominant and right-dominant. Languages use either one or the other type.

  • Left-dominant feet have a strong first syllable with the following syllables weak.
  • Right-dominant feet have a strong final syllable with preceding syllables weak.

English is a left-dominant language. For example, “consultation” has two feet, /kɔn.səl/ and /tæɪ.ʃən/. In each of these feet, the first or left-most syllable is strong and the second is weak, that is, leftdominant. In each word, one of the feet is stronger than the other feet. Its head is more prominent because it is assigned intonational tone or extra length. This strong syllable has primary word stress and the heads of the other feet have secondary stress. In “escalator” /eskəlæɪtə/, there are two left-dominant feet and the first has primary stress. The first syllable of the second foot carries secondary stress. The weak syllables are unstressed. In English there is a tendency for the first syllable of words to be strong and for words not to have adjacent strong syllables. For example, words like “lantern” (s w) and “halogen” (s w w) are far more common than “arise” (w s) or “apex” (s s). So within feet we can identify a distinction between strong and weak syllables, and within a word across feet we can identify primary, secondary stress and unstressed syllables. Metrical theory is principally concerned with the parameters that determine the position of stressed syllables in words. Stress is seen as a strength relationship between different syllables.

All Syllable Related Words

Acatalectic Accent Accented
Accentual Accentuate Accentuation
Affined Aged Aged(A)
Alliteration Alliterative Ambisyllabic
Amphibrach Anapaest Anapaestic
Anapest Anapestic Antepenult
Antepenultimate Aphesis Assibilate
Assonance Assonant Asyllabia
Asyllabic Asyllabical Atonic
Babylonian Basic Beginning Rhyme
Bisyllabic Bisyllabism Canonic
Canonical Catalectic Chant
Cured Dactyl Dash
Decasyllabic Decasyllable Decasyllables
Decasyllabon Devanagari Devanagari Script
Dibrach Dissyllabic Dissyllabification
Dissyllabify Dissyllabise Dissyllabised
Dissyllabising Dissyllabism Dissyllabize
Dissyllabized Dissyllabizing Dissyllable
Dissyllables Disyllabic Disyllabism
Disyllabize Disyllabized Disyllabizing
Disyllable Disyllables Do
Dodecasyllabic Dodecasyllable Doh
Doo-Wop Elderly Emphasis
Endmost End-Rhymed Enneasyllabic
Extrasyllabic Fa Fa La
Fal La Fall Feminine
Foot Fusion Halfsyllabled
Head Rhyme Heavy Hendecasyllabic
Hendecasyllable Heptasyllabic Heptasyllable
Heterosyllabic Hexasyllabic Hexasyllable
Hypercatalectic Hyperdissyllable Hypermonosyllable
Hyperpolysyllabic Hyperpolysyllabically Hyphen
Hyphenation Iamb Iambus
Imparisyllabic Initial Rhyme La
Lah Light Linear B
Long Malay Malayan
Mantra Masculine Measured
Metathesis Metric Metrical
Metrical Foot Metrical Unit Mi
Mimeo Mimeograph Missyllabication
Missyllabification Missyllabified Missyllabify
Missyllabifying Monosyllabic Monosyllabic Word
Monosyllabical Monosyllabically Monosyllabicity
Monosyllabism Monosyllabize Monosyllable
Monosyllabled Monosyllables Multisyllabic
Multisyllability Multisyllable Nagari
Nagari Script Nondecasyllabic Nondecasyllable
Nonsense(A) Nonsensical Nonsyllabic
Nonsyllabicness Octosyllabic Octosyllabical
Octosyllable Of Age(P) Older
Oligosyllabic Oligosyllable Oxytone
Parisyllabic Parisyllabical Paroxytone
Pentasyllabic Pentasyllabism Pentasyllable
Penult Penultima Penultimate
Perissosyllabic Phonogram Plurisyllabic
Plurisyllable Polysyllabic Polysyllabic Word
Polysyllabical Polysyllabically Polysyllabicism
Polysyllabicity Polysyllabism Polysyllable
Polysyllables Pyrrhic Quadrisyllabic
Quadrisyllabical Quadrisyllable Quadrisyllabous
Quantitative Quindecasyllabic Quinquesyllabic
Quinquesyllable Ray Re
Re- Rebus Reduplication
Resyllabification Rhyme Rime
Ripened Roulade Scanner
Scat Scat Singing Schwa
Senior Septisyllabic Septisyllable
Sesquipedalian Sexisyllabic Sexisyllable
Short Shwa Si
So Soh Sol
Solfa Solfa Syllable Solmisation
Solmizate Solmization Spondee
Stress Stress Mark Stressed
Strong Syllab Syllabaria
Syllabaries Syllabarium Syllabary
Syllabatim Syllabation Syllabe
Syllabi Syllabic Syllabic Script
Syllabical Syllabically Syllabicate
Syllabicated Syllabicates Syllabicating
Syllabication Syllabications Syllabicity
Syllabicness Syllabics Syllabification
Syllabifications Syllabified Syllabifies
Syllabify Syllabifying Syllabise
Syllabised Syllabises Syllabising
Syllabism Syllabisms Syllabist
Syllabize Syllabized Syllabizes
Syllabizing Syllable Syllable Structure
Syllabled Syllables Syllable's
Syllabling Syllabogram Syllabography
Syllabub Syllabubs Syllabus
Syllabuses Tanka Tautosyllabic
Te Terminal Terrasyllable
Tetrasyllabic Tetrasyllabical Tetrasyllable
Tetrsyllabical Ti Tonic
Tonic Solfa Tra-La Tra-La-La
Trisyllabic Trisyllabical Trisyllabically
Trisyllabism Trisyllabity Trisyllable
Trisyllables Trochee Ultimate
Unaccented Unarticulated Unsyllabic
Unsyllabicated Unsyllabified Unsyllabled
Ut Vowel Rhyme Weak
Word Accent Word Stress

All Words