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Consonant Blends: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:04 Vowel/Consonant Background
  • 0:42 Definition of Consonant Blend
  • 1:14 Common Two-Letter Blends
  • 4:17 Common Three-Letter Blends
  • 5:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor
Summer Stewart

Summer has taught creative writing and sciences at the college level. She holds an MFA in Creative writing and a B.A.S. in English and Nutrition

Expert Contributor
Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

The English language is made up of a combination of consonant and vowel sounds. Many words begin with a 2- or 3-letter consonant blend. In this lesson, we will define the term consonant blend and look at some examples of the different kinds of consonant blends.

Vowel/Constant Background

The English language has millions of words, thanks to the many unique combinations of consonants and vowels. A consonant is any letter that isn't a vowel (the vowels are a, e, i, o, and u). Consonant sounds are made by obstructing the air flow created by speech organs. When two or three consonants are placed together, it is called a consonant blend; consonant blends start and end many words in English. In this lesson, we will narrowly define what a consonant blend is and provide examples of words containing consonant blends.

Definition of Consonant Blend

A consonant blend is a combination of consonants that are placed together without being separated by a vowel. The most common consonant blends are combinations of two or three consonants together at the beginning or end of a word.

Furthermore, the letters in a consonant blend work together to make one sound, but all the individual letters can be heard within the pronunciation. Sometimes, a consonant blend may contain a silent letter or a double letter. Let's look at some examples.

Common 2-Letter Blends

The most common 2-letter consonant blends are: bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, sl, br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr, sc, sk, sm, sn, sp, st, sw, and tw.

Here are some words with 2-letter consonant blends:

  • Bl: blank, black, blue, blister, blight, blast
  • Fr: fried, French, frank, frolic, frigid
  • St: stare, store, stir, sty, stick
  • Cl: cluster, cloister, clip, clown, clothes

Now, let's look at some words in sentences:

  • The black cat sliding across the ice.
  • The class played flag football on the muddy ground.
  • The brown cow cried out for her friend.
  • Emily was happy with the results of the trial.
  • She scouted for skunks and snails.
  • The smoke spread over the twinkling town.
  • The students swam in the ocean.

Many consonant blends are reserved for the beginnings of words, but some are used at the end or in the middle of a word. For example, the consonant blend 'sp' is used to make the word 'wasp.' Likewise, the consonant blend 'bl' can be seen in the word 'table.'

1. Silent Two-Letter Consonant Blends

As mentioned before, some consonant blends contain a silent letter, in which case one of the letters in the consonant blend isn't pronounced. Silent letter consonant blends include wr, mb, kn, and mn. Wr and kn are typically used to start words, while mn and mb are used to end words. See the following examples:

  • She knocked on the wrong door.
  • The wreck happened in autumn.
  • Her thumb was numb.

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Additional Activities

Treasure Hunt for Consonant Blends

This creative game will allow students of all ages to work interactively with consonant blends in the real world.

Materials

  • Access to an area with a large number of small items regularly found in your daily life
    • This could be a classroom, an office, a park or even in the home.

Instructions

  • After a discussion on the definition of consonant blends and a few examples, tell your students that they are going to conduct a search for as many consonant blends (in the form of concrete items in the environment) that they can find.
  • (Optional step) You may wish to write the main consonant blends on the board to remind students of the blends for which they are looking. Alternatively, you could give students a printout of the transcript from the video lesson to help them remember the lists of blends.
  • Set a time limit for how long your students are allowed to search and then let them go.
  • When the time is over, ask your students to review each of their items and tell what letters for the consonant blend the item represents.

Alternatives

  • This activity can be conducted in small groups if you have a large class.
  • If movement around a space is not possible, or items are limited, you can ask students to write down examples of words that have the consonant blends shown in the lesson.
    • Note: for this alternative, remember to disallow the use of words already offered as examples in the lesson itself.

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