Three letter rule

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In English, the three letter rule (or short word rule) is the observation that content words are three letters long at least.

One- and two-letter words are mostly function words. Examples: I, at, he, if, of, or, etc. Therefore, content words almost all have at least three letters. Notice that content words with fewer than three phonemes get an extra letter or letters which are "phonetically redundant": the extra letters do not change the sound. Examples are such as ebb, add, egg, inn, bee, awe, buy, owe, etc.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. Jespersen, Otto 1909. A Modern English Grammar I: Sounds and Spellings §4.96