The English language is constructed of many different sounds: vowels, consonants, long vowels and short vowels. Sometimes sounds blend together as is the case with consonant blends.
Consonant blends (also called consonant clusters) are a collection of two or three different consonant sounds that are each heard when the word is pronounced. For example, let's look at the word "drink." Both the letters "d" and "r" are consonants. When the word "drink" is pronounced, you can clearly hear the sounds of both of these letters, making it a consonant blend.
When two consonants make a distinct sound it is called a "consonant digraph." A good example of that is "sh," which makes a sound quite different from the "s" and "h." When three consonants are combined to form a sound it is called a "consonant trigraph."
Joining to Become Consonant Blends
You can become more familar and comfortable with consonant blends by examining some of the letters that are commonly joined together in consonant blends. These include:
Many of these consonant blends probably look familiar to you since we all use words with them on a daily basis.
Examples of Words with Consonant Blends
Now that you have a firm grasp on what consonant blends actually are, let's look at some examples of commonly used and heard words that use them.
- Blend, bland, blue, black, blanket, bleach, blood, blast, blatant, blame, bluebird, bleak, blaze, blind, block
- Click, clam, clean, claim, class, clap, clay, close, clash, clothes, climb, cling, clock
- Crab, crumb, crib, cry, crank, crow, crew, crazy, create, credit, creature
- Draw, dream, drain, dress, drone, drink, drag, dragon, drop, drawer, dry
- From, freezer, free, freedom, frozen, frighten, friend, fruit, freak
- Glad, glamor, glasses, glass, glaze, glee, glitter, globe, glove, glue
- Grade, great, grocery, grueling, grape, grass, grandparent, grapefruit, grease, gravity
- Place, plan, play, plant, please, plenty, plus, plywood, plate, plum, plumber
- Practice, prove, pretzel, prevent, private, press, price, pride, promise
- School, scribble, scale, score, scrap, scratch, schedule
- Skunk, skate, skinny, skeleton, ski, skill, skin, sketch, sky
- Slick, slack, sleigh, sleeve, sleek, sled, slot, slice, slim, slime, slow, slot, sleep
- Small, smart, smear, smash, smell, smitten, smog, smock
- Snack, snail, snare, sneak, snore, snake, snob, snow, sneeze, snap
- Space, spot, sphere, splash, speak, spend, splurge, sport, special, splendid, splinter, sprout, sprain, spray, spank, sprawl, spirit, sprint, sprung, spry
- Stair, step, stop, stare, store, stage, story, steak, stand, star, steam, stone, strike, strange, strain, strong, straight, street, study
- Sweet, swan, sworn, swallow, sweat, swing, swim, swamp, sweater, swollen, switch
- Truck, try, trust, tray, tree, trail, train, track, traffic, trade, trash, travel, treat, true
- Twinkle, tweet, tweezer, twelve, twice, twenty, twirl, twist, twine
All of these words use two letters to make one sound, which you now know as a consonant blend.
Did you know that even though the English language only has 26 letters, it actually has somewhere around 44 unique sounds? These are called phonemes. You've got the short A sound, as in "bat," but you've also got the long A sound, as in "bay." The reverse works too, like how the "s" sound in "set" is also produced with the letter C in the word "race."
When you add in the huge variety of consonent blends into the mix, you can really start to appreciate the amazing diversity of how words sound in English.