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When learning how to speak a new language, learning it’s alphabet is an unavoidable part of the process, the English alphabet includes two types of letters: vowel and consonants. 

Consonants are any vowels that restrict airflow through the vocal tract.

But what’s the point of understanding consonants in the alphabet? Whether you are a native English speaker or learning the language for the first time, there is a lot of importance in understanding what consonants are and the correct way to pronounce them. 

What is a Consonant?

The alphabet is broken up into two types of letters: vowels and consonants. The consonants include B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, X, Y, Z.

  from our mouths through the obstruction of breath.

For example,

  • T is pronounced using the front part of the tongue.
  • K is pronounced using the back part of the tongue.
  • B is pronounced with the lips
  • H is pronounced in the throat
  • F is pronounced by forcing air through a narrow gap
  • M is pronounced using the nasal passage

When a consonant is combined with a vowel, a syllable is formed. Enough syllables combined create a complete word, and together language is useful. 

Knowing how to pronounce consonants correctly is the surest way to communicate to listeners clearly. These sounds make language crisp and clear.

Consonants are easier to learn how to pronounce than vowels since there is usually only one way to pronounce consonants. 

Consonants vs. Vowels

Letters of the alphabet are the building blocks of words. But, the purest definition of letters is how our mouth moves to sound out the letter.

Vowels differ from consonants because vowels are the free movement from the mouth versus the obstruction of air in the vocal cords.

For a complete review of vowels and vowel sounds, check out our blog on the topic.

Consonant Blends

Consonant blends are the sounds that are created when you combine two or more consonants. These blends can be found at the beginning or the ending of a word.

For a set of letters to be considered a consonant blend, all of the letters must be individually pronounced; these blends range in complexity, but they all are consistent with including blends of pronounced letters. 

There are many different kinds of consonant blends (since many of these blends create the English language!). Here is a sample of the various blends and examples.

Two-Letter L-Blends

L-blends are the combinations of letters where the second letter is an L.

bl cl fl gl pl sl
blend click flat glad place slick
blew clam flag glamour playground slack
bleed clean flower glowing plan slump
bland claim flame gloomier play sleigh
blue class flamingo glasses plant sleeve
blueberry clap flimsy glass please sloppy
black clay flake glaze pluck sleek
blanket close flu glance plastic sled
bleach clash fly gliding playpen sly
blackboard clothes flutter glee plenty slot
bleach climb fling glitter plop slice
blackboard cling flexible globe plus slim
blubber flipper glob plastic slime
bluebird float glove pliers slow
blow fluffy glue plywood sloth
blood flood plate slot
blast flit platypus sleep
blink plural slate
bliss planet
blossom plum
blatant plumber
blame

Two-Letter R-Blends

R-blends are the combinations of letters where the second letter is an R.

br cr dr fr gr pr tr
brace crab drab fraction grab prairie truck
bracelet crack drive fragile grateful prance try
bracket cracker draft fragment grace pray trust
brad crackle drawer fragrant graceful precious tray
brag crater drag frail greyhound precipitation tree
braid cradle dragon frame gracious precise trail
brain crafts dread frank grad precocious train
brake creak dragonfly frantic grade predict track
bramble crag drain fraud grunt preposition traffic
bran cram dreadful fray gradual present trade
branch cramp drake free grieving president trash
brand crisp dram freeze graduate press travel
brass cranberry dream freezer graffiti prey treat
brat crane drama freight great price trace
brave cranefly dramatic grizzly pride trachea
brawny crowd dribble graft prim tract
bray cranium drank graham primary traction
breach creep grain prime tractor
bread cranky gram prince tradition
break cranny gruff princess tragedy
breath crash grammar tragic
crass gruesome trailer
crew grand trait
crate grandchild traitor
growl
grandfather
grandmother
grandchild
grandparent
granite
groovy
grant
granular
graffiti
grapefruit
grapes
grammar
graph
grasp

Two-Letter S-Blends

 

sc sh sk sm sn sp st sw
scab shack skate smack snack spa stab swab
scabbard shade skateboard smooth snag space stable swaddle
scarecrow ship skinny smallpox snow sport stand sweep
scads shadow skatepark smarmy snail spacecraft stack swagger
scarlet shake skedaddle smooch snake spacious stadium swallow
scaffold shore skunk smart snout spoon stamp sweat
scatter shall skeet smash snap spackle staff swallowtail
scald sham skein smoke snapdragon spade stag swam
scale shovel skull smattering snorkel spicy stop swim
scalene shampoo skeletal smear snapper spaghetti stage swami
scorch shamrock skeleton smidge snapshot Spain stagger swamp
scallop shake sky smell snore spend crust swine
scorch shape skeptic smelt snare spam stair swan
scalp share sketch smear snarl span stake swanky
scalpel shiny skyscraper smidgen snuggle speech best sweet
scaly shark sketchbook smile snatch spandex stalactite swansong
scold she skew smother snazzy spank stalagmite swap
scam shoddy skirt smirk snoop spine dust swaddle
scamper sheep skewer smite sneak spar stale swarm
scorpion shelf ski S’more sneaker spare stalk
scan shoulder skim milk smith sniffles spot stoop
scandal shell skid smitten sneer spareribs stall
scanner skiff small sneeze spark stallion
scurry skill smock sneeze spin start
scant skillet smog snicker sparkle stamp
skim snide sparkler
skimobile snake spy
sniff sparrow
sniffle sparse
snip spell
snipe spartan
sniper spasm
snippers spider
snippy spat
snit
snivel

Two-Letter T-Blends

th tw
than t’was
thank twang
thanksgiving tweak
that tweed
thaw tween
the tweet
their tweeze
them tweezers
then twelfth
there twelve
therefore twenty
thermometer twerp
these twice
they twiddle
they’re twig
thick twilight

Three-Letter Blends

Three-letter blends, or clusters, are a combination of three consonants. Remember, a blend is a set of three letters with distinct letter sounds.

sch scr shr sph spl spr squ str thr
schedule scram shrank sphagnum splash sprain squab straight thrash
schematic scramble shrapnel sphere splashdown sprang squabble strain thread
schoolhouse scrap shred spherical splat espresso squeal streamlined throes
scheme scrapbook shrew spheroid splatter sprawl squad strait threat
scherzo scrape shrewd sphincter splay spray squadron strand three
shwag scrappy shriek sphinx spleen missprint squeak streetlight throbs
schism scratch shrift splendid spread squalid strange thresher
schizophrenic scrawl shrill splendor spreadsheet squall strap threw
schizy scrawny shrimp splice springer squint strangulate thrice
schlep scream shrine splint spree squalor straw through
schlock screech shrink splinter sprig squander strawberry thrift
schemed screen shrivel split disprove squalid straightforward thriller
schmooze screenwriter shroud splotchy spring square stray throughout
scholar screw shrub splurge springboard squash streak thrive
schtiks shrug splurt jurisprudence squirrel instrumentation throat
scholarship shrunk splutter springbok squat stream threads
scholastic springtime squawk street throb
schnapps spreadable squad construction throne
school sprinkle squeak strength thift
schoolroom sprinkler squeal stress throng
schoolies springtime structure throttle
schooner sprint stress throbbed
schwa sprite stretch through
bedspread throw
spritz threatened
spritzer thrush
disproving thrust
sprocket
sprout
offspring
spruce
sprung
spry

Conclusion

Consonants cannot be used on their own. They must have vowels to create syllables (and words). However, it’s essential to understand the importance of consonants and what qualifies a consonant when learning about language.

For review:

  • A consonant is any letter that restricts airflow through the vocal tract.
  • There are consonant blends that combine letters to create a complete sound (and word). Two-letter blends are called digraphs, and three-letter blends are called trigraphs.

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