Learning Resources

Syllabification of Words

Syllabification is the separation of a word into syllables, whether spoken or written. It is also used to describe the process of something like a consonant turning into a syllable.

The written separation is usually marked by a hyphen and with a period when transcribing.

English written syllabification therefore deals with a concept of "syllable" that doesn't correspond to the linguistic concept or a phonetic (as opposed to morphological) unit.

A syllable is a unit of sound. It can be a vowel, a diphthong, or one or more vowels combined with one or more consonants.

Single-syllable words can be formed using one letter or many letters like a, be, six, look or bought

In most English dictionaries, words that are more than one syllable are divided by a dot or space between the syllables.

Syllable Stress
In words that are polysyllabic (have more than one syllable), one syllable is stressed. In most English dictionaries, the stressed syllable is indicated by a stress mark, a symbol that resembles an apostrophe. The stress mark follows the syllable that is stressed. For example, in the word incredible, the second syllable (-cred-) is stressed. Similarly in case of two syllable (ex'it, hu'mid) or three (op'po.site) or four (in·cred'i·ble)

Putting stress on the correct syllable is especially important for words that are both nouns and verbs.