Consonant blends are an essential aspect of the English language, for they function to produce numerous sounds that are heard in many of the words and sentences used in the spoken language. If you want to develop a better understanding of consonant blends, it may help to understand the general grammar rules that apply to such blends.

Consonant Blends

Consonant blends are groups of two or three consonants that are placed beside each other within a word. The consonants that make up a consonant blend cannot be separated by any vowels, and the effect is that the sound of each given consonant in the blend is produced but so quickly that the sounds combine and blend together in a smooth manner. Examples of consonant blends include the "bl" in blossom; the "tr" in track; the "pl" in reply; the "ft" in after; the "nd" in send and the "mp" in stamp.

Three-Syllable Blends

Although the above examples represent two-syllable blends, consonant blends can also be constructed from three syllables placed together, with the effect being the same as two-syllable blends. Most three-syllable consonant blends begin with the letter "s," with some examples of three-syllable consonant blends including the "str" in straw; the "scr" in scruffy, the "spl" in split; the "str" in strike and the "spr" in spring.

Difference Between Consonant Blends and Digraphs

The difference between consonant blends and consonant digraphs is that in consonant blends the original sounds of the consonant letters are still heard, even though they are blended together. On the other hand, in consonant digraphs the two consonants are placed together to effectively produce an entirely new sound while the original sounds of the letters generally disappear or are dramatically altered. Examples of consonant digraphs include the "sh" in shutter; the "ch" in chapter; the "th" in theater; the "wh" in who and the "ph" in photograph.

Location of Consonant Blends

Combinations of consonants that produce consonant blends must reside in the same syllable. Furthermore, the blends can be placed in any syllable within the word, although blends are generally located in the first syllable of the word, known as initial consonant word blends, or in the last syllable in the word, known as final consonant word blends. Examples of initial blends include the "br" in break and the "fl" in flag. Examples of final blends include the "lb" in bulb and the "nt" in pavement.