Post-tonic synope in English (Received Pronunciation) optionally deletes a schwa between a stressed and an unstressed vowel (gén(e)ral), but it cannot apply if the vowel following the schwa is stressed (gén*(e)ràte), or if no vowel follows (hápp*(e)n). Syncope is thus triggered by a metrical lapse of unstressed vowels. In addition, short stressed vowels cannot occur in an open syllable in English (Stress-to-Weight), except when preceding a single consonant and a vowel. Hammond (1997a) analyses such seemingly open stressed syllables in words like gén(e)ral as closed by a virtual geminate. I argue that post-tonic syncope can be understood as another means of satisfying the Stress-to-Weight requirement, closing the stressed syllable in a different way, at the same time avoiding a metrical lapse. In addition, surprisingly, English post-tonic syncope is sensitive to the quality of the flanking consonants: the consonant following the alternating vowel must be a sonorant which is more sonorous than the consonant preceding it (dél*(i)cate, cól*(o)ny). These are the same conditions as those applying to syllabic consonant formation, which can be regarded as a stage preceding syncope, explaining the melodic restrictions. I analyse the interplay of different forces in Stratal Optimality Theory, employing Government Phonological representations.