Deeper Dive: night

Word Story Text

NIGHT seems irregular because the GH is silent.
But, it participates in two patterns. You don’t want to teach both of them. That would be inefficient, too much time. You want to teach t the pattern that is most consistent, most predictable across words.

The simplest pattern is that the GH in GHT is always silent.

So, you could teach this pattern: GHT /t/. Very common pattern, generalization applies to many words.

You could to that, but you don’t want to. Why? Because it’s not enough to pronounce the GHT words correctly.

The silent GH is taken care of but the problem shifts to pronouncng the preceding vowel. You’ll also have to teach how to pronounce them. And that’s complicated.

If the GHT is preceded by EI EI as in EIGHT and WEIGHT, the vowel is /A/ (except for HEIGHT) But, EI has several pronunciations: FREIGHT, HEIGHT, NEIGH, FEIGN

Same happens with OU: could be pronounced as in NOUN, OUT, ROUGH and other ways.

The solution is to teach the patterns involving a vowel and GHT. In a single syllable word, that is called the rime or “word body”.

IGHT, the rime in NIGHT, is very consistent: light, sight, might and many others.

So Teach the IGHT pattern, but keep it away from the other GHT patterns like EIGHT and OUGHT. They have their own neighborhoods.

The bottom line: beginning readers don’t know how words pattern together. You can help them create these patterns through instruction. For NIGHT and many other words, the most informative pattern is the rime.

Feign, freight, height, neigh

More Rhymes






"I often think that the night is more richly colored than the day.” Vincent Van Gogh

"If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night I’ll bet they would live differently." Bill Watterson

"What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” Bob Dylan


night and day, you are the one
Only you 'neath the moon or under the sun
Whether near to me or far
It's no matter, darling, where you are
I think of you day and night

night and day, why is it so
That this longin' for you follows wherever I go ?
In the roarin' traffic's boom
In the silence of my lonely room
I think of you day and night

Night and Day by Cole Porter

All night
Night owl
Date night
Early night
First night
Dance the night away
In the dead night
Have a bad night
Morning, noon and night
Night and day
Good night
night (nīt), noun [OE. night, niht, AS. neaht, niht; akin to D. nacht, OS. & OHG. naht, G. nacht, Icel. nōtt, Sw. natt, Dan. nat, Goth. nahts, Lith. naktis, Russ. noche, W. nos, Ir. nochd, L. nox, noctis, Gr. νύξ, νυκτός, Skr. nakta, nakti. √265. Cf. Equinox, Nocturnal.]

1. That part of the natural day when the sun is beneath the horizon, or the time from sunset to sunrise; esp., the time between dusk and dawn, when there is no light of the sun, but only moonlight, starlight, or artificial light.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. Gen. i. 5.
2. Hence:
(a) Darkness; obscurity; concealment.
Nature and nature’s laws lay hid in night. Pope.
(b) Intellectual and moral darkness; ignorance.

(c) A state of affliction; adversity; as, a dreary night of sorrow.

(d) The period after the close of life; death.
She closed her eyes in everlasting night. Dryden.
(e) A lifeless or unenlivened period, as when nature seems to sleep.
“Sad winter's night”. Spenser.
Night is sometimes used, esp. with participles, in the formation of self-explaining compounds; as, night-blooming, night-born, night-warbling, etc.

Night by night

Night after night
nightly; many nights.

So help me God, as I have watched the night,
Ay, night by night, in studying good for England. Shak.
Night bird (Zool.)
(a) The moor hen (Gallinula chloropus)

(b) The Manx shearwater (Puffinus Anglorum)
Night blindness (Med.)
See Hemeralopia.
Night cart
a cart used to remove the contents of privies by night.
Night churr (Zool.)
the nightjar.
Night crow
a bird that cries in the night.
Night dog
a dog that hunts in the night, – used by poachers.
Night fire
(a) Fire burning in the night.

(b) Ignis fatuus; Will-o'-the-wisp; Jask-with-a-lantern
Night flyer (Zool.)
any creature that flies in the night, as some birds and insects.
night glass
a spyglass constructed to concentrate a large amount of light, so as see objects distinctly at night. Totten.
Night green
iodine green.
Night hag
a witch supposed to wander in the night.
Night hawk (Zool.)
an American bird (Chordeiles Virginianus), allied to the goatsucker. It hunts the insects on which it feeds toward evening, on the wing, and often, diving down perpendicularly, produces a loud whirring sound, like that of a spinning wheel. Also sometimes applied to the European goatsuckers. It is called also bull bat.
Night heron (Zool.)
any one of several species of herons of the genus Nycticorax, found in various parts of the world. The best known species is Nycticorax griseus, or Nycticorax nycticorax, of Europe, and the American variety (var. naevius). The yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea syn. Nycticorax violaceus) inhabits the Southern States. Called also qua-bird, and squawk.
Night house
a public house, or inn, which is open at night.
Night key
a key for unfastening a night latch.
Night latch
a kind of latch for a door, which is operated from the outside by a key.
Night monkey (Zool.)
an owl monkey.
night moth (Zool.)
any one of the noctuids.
Night parrot (Zool.)
the kakapo.
Night piece
a painting representing some night scene, as a moonlight effect, or the like.
Night rail
a loose robe, or garment, worn either as a nightgown, or over the dress at night, or in sickness. [Obs.]
Night raven (Zool.)
a bird of ill omen that cries in the night; esp., the bittern.
Night rule
(a) A tumult, or frolic, in the night; – as if a corruption, of night revel. [Obs.]

(b) Such conduct as generally rules, or prevails, at night.

What night rule now about this haunted grove? Shak.
Night sight (Med.)
See Nyctolopia.
Night snap
a night thief. [Cant] Beau. & Fl.
Night soil
human excrement; – so called because in cities it is collected by night and carried away for manure.
Night spell
a charm against accidents at night.
Night swallow (Zool.)
the nightjar.
Night walk
a walk in the evening or night.
Night walker
(a) One who walks in his sleep; a somnambulist; a noctambulist.

(b) One who roves about in the night for evil purposes; specifically, a prostitute who walks the streets.
Night walking
(a) Walking in one's sleep; sleep walking; somnambulism; noctambulism.

(b) Walking the streets at night with evil designs.
Night warbler (Zool.),
the sedge warbler (Acrocephalus phragmitis); – called also night singer. [Prov. Eng.]
Night watch
(a) A period in the night, as distinguished by the change of watch.

(b) A watch, or guard, to aford protection in the night.
Night watcher
one who watches in the night; especially, one who watches with evil designs. –
Night witch
Same as Night hag, above.

-- Webster's unabridged 1913

morpheme phoneme statistics idioms