Difference Between Open and Closed Syllable

Main Difference – Open vs Closed Syllable

Syllable is a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word. There are six types of syllables: closed syllables, open syllables, silent-e syllables, vowel combination syllables, vowel-r syllables, and consonant-l-e syllables. In this article, we are going to look at open and closed syllables and the difference between them. The main difference between open and closed syllable is that open syllable ends with a vowel whereas closed syllable ends with a consonant. A word may be made up of both open and closed syllables.Difference Between Open and Closed Syllable- infographic

What is an Open Syllable

An open syllable has only one vowel, and that vowel occurs at the end of the syllable. They are known as “open” because they are not closed by a consonant.  Open syllables have a long vowel sound. Some examples of open syllables include no, he, she, be, me, go, hi and spry.

Sometimes, vowels on their own are also considered as open syllables since they form a sound of their own.  For example, “a” in ‘able’ and “ba” in ‘baby’, are also considered as open syllables.

Main Difference - Open vs Closed Syllable

Open Syllables

An open syllable can be recognized by the pronunciation of  the vowel. It is pronounced like the name of the letter. For example, the word “me” is pronounced like the letter “e”.

What is a Closed Syllable

Closed syllables also contain one vowel, but this vowel is always followed by a consonant. In other words, a closed syllable always ends with a consonant. Unlike the vowels in the open syllables, the vowel sound produced by closed syllable is short. Some examples of closed syllables include the words ask, junk, soft, on, in, but, sock, hid, pat, bat, truck, bed, hip, and men. All these examples contain one vowel and end with a consonant.

A word can also have more than one closed syllable.  Here are some words that have two closed syllables:

combat, dentist, contact, happen, insect, kitten, rabbit, fabric

Difference Between Open and Closed Syllable

Closed Syllables

Difference Between Open and Closed Syllable


Open Syllable ends in a vowel.

Closed Syllable ends in a consonant.


Open Syllable has a long sound.

Closed Syllable has a short sound.


Open Syllable’s vowel is not followed by any consonant.

Closed Syllable’s vowel is followed by a consonant.

Sound of the Letter

Open Syllable’s sound is similar to the name of the vowel.

Closed Syllable’s sound may not be similar to the name of the letter.

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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