You can blame the days of long ago, when it was hard to write a rounded letter 'u' in Middle English manuscripts for the fact that words in modern English don't end in the letter 'v.'
The ugly solution created was to add a silent 'e' at the end of the word that ended in the /v/ sound and call it good. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, what can go wrong is that it totally messes up the 'vowel-consonant-e' (VCe) rule that says that when a word has a single vowel, followed by a single consonant, followed by the letter 'e,' the first vowel is pronounced as a long vowel sound and the final 'e' is silent. (Learn more about that in the Introduction to Long Vowels lesson.)
In modern English, sometime the VCe pattern works with words that end in 've' and sometimes it doesn't.
Words ending in the letters 've' pronounced with long vowels:
Words ending in the letters 've' NOT pronounced with long vowels:
To make it more confusing, what about the heteronyms (words with two different pronunciations) like "dove" and "live"? Memorize them!
- dove (past tense of 'to dive'): /doʊv/
- dove (the bird that symbolizes peace): /dʌv/
- live (verb): /lɪv/
- live (adjective/adverb): /lɑɪv/
♥♥ Oh, learning English, what's not to love? ♥♥