In my question on silent e, ctype.h's answer includes this:

A silent e is often employed to modify the pronunciation of the preceding vowel, functioning much like a diacritic would in many other languages.

I know people are employed by companies, but can a silent letter be employed?

  • 1
    I initially thought "A dictionary could best answer this", but Wiktionary only refers to the employment of people in its meaning of "use".
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 7:53

1 Answer 1


Yes. "employed" or rather "employ" as a verb has effectively the same meaning as "to use" or "to make use of", but with a connotation towards the item not being consumed in the process.

Obviously the major use of the word employ is in the sentences like

I employ two members of staff

In this case, both members of staff would be referred to as employees and I would be their employer, however it is entirely valid to use it in other contexts where an item (particularly an intangible one) is used:

I was losing my game of Chess with Kasperov until I employed the Queens-Rook defence.

We employed a new technique to defeating our competitors last week.

I wrote a strongly worded letter to the CEO last week, in which I employed some decidedly untactful remarks.

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