The vocal sheva (sheva na, or moving sheva) represents the sound of a letter without a vowel. When it opens a syllable it sounds almost as if you were trying to pronounce the letter by itself. Usually we will transliterate a vocal sheva with an "e" (or sometimes with an apostrophe).
The silent sheva is used to provide a stop to a syllable. We will not transliterate the silent sheva (sheva nach, or resting sheva) at all.
The Hebrew guttural letters cannot take a vocal sheva but use chateph forms instead (the Chateph forms are really a combination of the sheva with one of the other vowel signs). Hebrew gutturals can take a silent Sheva.
A sheva at the end of a word is always considered silent.
The Vocal Sheva
There are four cases when the Sheva is vocal:
Note: When a Sheva is not vocal, it is silent.
Case 1: At the beginning of a word
Case 2: Second of two in a row:
Case 3: Under a Dagesh Forte letter:
Case 4: When following a long vowel:
The Sheva is also vocal when it is the first of two of the same sounding letters, such as in the word "hallelujah" (hal-le-lu-yah).
Each word below has one or more sheva. For each word, identify the type of sheva (vocal or silent) and provide a transliteration. The first two words are done for you.
Read the following words aloud until you can do so fluently: