Blends, Digraphs, and Trigraphs: Word Lists, Examples, and Explanations

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<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">For many people, digraphs, trigraphs, and blends sound like intimidating grammar concepts. Luckily, these words are not so difficult to understand, though they are very similar. A <strong><a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-consonant-blends.html&quot; target="_blank">blend</a></strong> is where you take two or more letters and blend them together. In blends, each letter’s sound is still represented in the final sound. An example of this can be seen in the <em>st </em>sound in words like “first” or “last.” For many people, digraphs, trigraphs, and blends sound like intimidating grammar concepts. Luckily, these words are not so difficult to understand, though they are very similar. A blend is where you take two or more letters and blend them together. In blends, each letter’s sound is still represented in the final sound. An example of this can be seen in the st sound in words like “first” or “last.” 

In contrast, digraph is a unique sound represented by two letters that are not related to the sound that that digraph makes. You have probably already encountered famous digraphs like ch and sh in words like “cheese” and “sheep.” trigraph is the same as a digraph, but instead of one new sound being represented by two letters, a trigraph is represented by three letters. A great example of a trigraph is the tch in the word “watch.” 

Children learning English do not need to know these grammatical terms. This does not mean that they do not need to be able to make these sounds. However, they don’t need to think too much about the grammar behind the sounds that they are practicing. That being said, if you are helping your child, you must be at least aware of what they are and how they work. This guide should give you a good understanding of what blends, digraphs, and trigraphs are. It will also give you some common patterns, word lists, and examples of blends, digraphs, and trigraphs to help you teach your child. 

Teaching phonics is tricky. If you are looking for tips and tricks take a look at our post on teaching phonics to your kids and important things to know before starting your child’s phonics education.

If you need any more help, take a look at our Vowels and Consonants Resources with free flashcards, lessons, and articles to help you teach your child phonics.

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What are Blends in Phonics?

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">A <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-consonant-blends.html&quot; target="_blank">blend</a> is when multiple letters have their sounds combined to form a blended sound. In a blend, you should still be able to hear each of the letters that make up the blend. Think of words like fast, <em>st </em>is a blend of the letters <em>s</em> and <em>t</em>. <strong>Blends can involve consonants or vowels,</strong> and they can be at the beginning, middle, or end of words. A blend is when multiple letters have their sounds combined to form a blended sound. In a blend, you should still be able to hear each of the letters that make up the blend. Think of words like fast, st is a blend of the letters s and tBlends can involve consonants or vowels, and they can be at the beginning, middle, or end of words. 

Learning to blend sounds is super important in English. It will require your child to become familiar with quickly switching between different sounds. Some of these blends will come naturally, while others will be a bit harder. It is different for each child, so keep on practicing, and they will sound perfect in no time. 

Mistakes in pronouncing blends usually occur for one of two reasons. The first is being unable to switch between different sounds quickly and accurately. This problem should sort itself out as your child becomes more familiar with the sounds of English. The second problem happens when your child drops one of the sounds that make up a blend. Listen carefully to their pronunciation and make gentle corrections as necessary.   

What is a Consonant Blend? What is a Consonant Cluster

These are actually the same thing. You usually see them referred to as blends, but occasionally they will be called consonant clusters. A consonant blend or a consonant cluster is a blend that only involves consonants. The fr in free is an example of a consonant blend. 

Consonant Blends Word List

To help you out, we have put together a list of common consonant blends that your child should encounter throughout their early English education. Your child probably already knows a lot of these words. If they don’t, then I imagine they will get introduced to them naturally over time.  

Intro Consonant Blends Word List

Bl

Black, Blue, Blow, Blanket, Block, Blonde

Br

Brush, Brown, Broccoli, Brother, Bring, Bright, Bridge, Break, Bread, Brave, Branch, Brain

Cl

Clown, Clap, Clue, Cloud, Climb, Clean, Class, Classroom

Cr

Crazy, Crack, Crab, Cry, Crunch, Crocodile, Crayon, Create, Crash

Dr

Drive, Drip, Drop, Dry, drum, Drink, Dream, Dress, Draw, Dragon

Fl

Fly, Flat, Flush, Flower, Flip, Flavor, Flashcard, Flag, Flamingo

Fr

Fry, Freeze, Frog, Friend, Fresh

Gl

Glad, Glue

Gr

Green, Great, Grape, Grow, Group, Ground, Gross, Grin, Greedy, Grab, Grass, Grasshopper, Grandma, Grandpa, Grandparent, Grandchild, Grade

Pl

Place, Please, Plane, Plural, Plus, Plum, Plenty, Play, Playground, Plan, Planet, Plastic, Plate 

Pr

Price, Pretty, Proper, Proud, Problem, Probably, Pro, Prince, Princess, Price

Tr

Trap, Truck, Trade, Traffic, Trail, Train, Trip, Trash

Tw

Twelve, Twenty, Twice, Twig, Twin, Twinkle, Twirl, Twist

Two* (does not make the w sound)

Wr

Wrong, Wreck, Wrap, Wrestle, Write

Consonant Blends with S Word List

As there are lots of blends with s, we decided to give you a separate list of consonant blends with s. 

Sc

Scare, Score, Scarf, Scary

*Scissors, *Science (the in these words are silent) 

Sk

Skate, Skateboard, Skill, Skunk, Skeleton, Sky, Skip, Skin, Skirt, Ski

Sl

Slam, Slap, Slug, Slow, Sled, Slide, Slime, Slip, Slippers, Slice, Sleeve, Sleep 

Sm

Small, Smack, Smooth, Smart, Smell, Smoke

Sn

Snore, Snot, Snack, Snail, Snap, Snow, Snowflake, Snowman, Sneak

Sp

Spy, Spoon, Space, Spaghetti, Spot, Sports, Sparkle, Speak, Special, Speed, Spell, Spill, spin, Spinach, Spit, Sponge

St

Stop, Stand, Still, Stairs, Stare, Star, Stick, Step, Sting, Stone, Stomach, Store, Storm, Story, Student 

Sw

Swallow, Swap, Sweat, Sweater, Sweet, Swing, Swipe, Swim, Swimsuit, Switch

Sword* (does not make the sound)

Common Ending Consonant Blends Word List

There are many ending blend patterns, so this is a list of some of the more common ones with some sample words that would be good for children to know. You do not need for your child to memorize all of them, but a well rounded English education should have them encounter and learn these words naturally. 

-mp

Lamp, Lump, Jump, Camp, Bump, Dump

-nk

Thank, Bank, Rank, Honk, Think, Drink, Blank

-nt

Ant, Pants, Went, Tent, Hint, Front, Point, Paint, Chant, Giant, Want 

-lk

Milk, Walk, Talk, Chalk, Sidewalk

-lt

Salt, Melt, Adult, Fault, Result

-lf

Golf, Shelf, Wolf, Self, Half, Elf

-nd

And, End, Send, Sound, Round, Found, Wind, Hand, Find, Bind, Kind, Bend 

-ft

Gift, Soft, Left, Lift, Craft

-st

Past, Must, Rust, East, West, Dust, Vest, Fast, Most, Last, Ghost, First, Worst

-sk

Ask, Disk, Risk, Desk, Mask

-rd

Word, Bird, Hard, Third, Board, Weird, Card, Yard, Lizard

-ld

Would, Could, Should, Bold, Cold, Fold, Sold, Hold, Wild, Build, Gold, World

-lp

Help, Kelp

-rk

Mark, Bark, Shark, Park, Pork, Dark

-pt

Adopt, Except, Accept, Attempt, Kept, Subtract

-ct

Act, Fact, Exact, React, Expect, Respect, Select, Object

What Are Digraphs in Phonics?

A digraph is formed when two letters combine to make a new sound. An example of a digraph is the ch in the word cheese. The sound is not c + h, but is instead an entirely new sound.

What Are the Most Common Digraphs?

The most common digraphs are ch, sh, th, and wh. If you want more help with some of these digraphs, we have lessons teaching children how to pronounce ch, th, and sh

What are Examples of Digraphs?

Ch

Cheese, Chin, Check, Cheek, Chair, Chain, Champion, Challenge, Chance, Change, Channel, Chant, Chase, Chat, Cheer, Cheetah, Chew, Chest, Chicken, Child, Chimp, China, Chocolate, Choice, Chop, Choose

Ph

Phone

Sc

Science

Sh

Shoe, Shin, Shape, Share, Show, Shut, Shout, Shoulder, Shot, Should, Shop, Shoot, Shirt, Ship, Shiny, Shell, Shelf, Sheep, She, Shark, Shake, Shadow

Th

Thank, Thumb, thunder, Thursday, Thousand, Though, Those, This, These, That, Third, Thirsty, Think, They, Thick, Thief, Their, Them, Then, There, Their, They’re, The  

Wh

White, Whale, When, Where, What, Why, Whistle, While, Wheel

What is a Trigraph?

A trigraph is similar to a digraph. The only difference is that a trigraph combines three letters to make a single sound. In contrast, a digraph only combines two letters to make a single sound.

Intro Trigraph List

Spl

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Splash, Split, SpreadSplash, Split, Spread

Sch

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">School, ScheduleSchool, Schedule

Scr

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Screen, Scrapbook, Scratch, ScreamScreen, Scrapbook, Scratch, Scream

Spr

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Spring, Spread, Sprint, SpraySpring, Spread, Sprint, Spray

Str

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Strength, Strong, Straight, Strawberry, Stretch, StreetStrength, Strong, Straight, Strawberry, Stretch, Street

Squ

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Square, Squid, Squirrel, Squish, SquirtSquare, Squid, Squirrel, Squish, Squirt

Shr

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Shrink, Shred, Shrimp, ShrugShrink, Shred, Shrimp, Shrug

Thr

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Throat, Through, ThreeThroat, Through, Three

Ending and Mid Trigraph List

-air

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Hair, FairHair, Fair

-are

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Dare, Share, Care, Bare, RareDare, Share, Care, Bare, Rare

-dge

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Edge, Fridge, Fudge, JudgeEdge, Fridge, Fudge, Judge

-ear

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Tear, Fear, Beard, Ear, DearTear, Fear, Beard, Ear, Dear

-eer

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Deer, Cheer, CareerDeer, Cheer, Career

-igh

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Light, High, Bright, Flight, Fight, Lightning, Right, TonightLight, High, Bright, Flight, Fight, Lightning, Right, Tonight

-ore

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Core, More, Adore, Shore, Score, Store, Chore, BoredCore, More, Adore, Shore, Score, Store, Chore, Bored

-tch

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Catch, Pitch, Patch, ItchCatch, Pitch, Patch, Itch

-ure

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Sure, Cure, PureSure, Cure, Pure

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Is ing a Trigraph?

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">No, “ing” is not a trigraph. We think of “ing” as saying i + n + g, so it does not count. That being said, I often teach “ing” like a trigraph as these three letters are usually found together. I find that thinking of it as one entity makes it easier for children to learn. No, “ing” is not a trigraph. We think of “ing” as saying i + n + g, so it does not count. That being said, I often teach “ing” like a trigraph as these three letters are usually found together. I find that thinking of it as one entity makes it easier for children to learn. 

How to Teach Blends, Digraphs, and Trigraphs

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">If you are teaching your child phonics, there is no need to teach them what a digraph or trigraph is. What you want is to get them used to recognizing these letter combinations and remembering that they make a unique sound. So it is important that they understand the sounds these digraphs and trigraphs make. However, they do not need to understand the grammar or even know of these grammatical terms. If you are teaching your child phonics, there is no need to teach them what a digraph or trigraph is. What you want is to get them used to recognizing these letter combinations and remembering that they make a unique sound. So it is important that they understand the sounds these digraphs and trigraphs make. However, they do not need to understand the grammar or even know of these grammatical terms. 

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">As people who have been on this website before know, I am a big proponent of learning through reading and <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://thelearnersnook.com/2020/06/08/teaching-your-child-with-movement-the-tpr-method/&quot; target="_blank">playing</a>. While teaching blends, digraphs, and trigraphs, I would <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://thelearnersnook.com/2020/07/03/english-worksheets-dont-improve-your-childs-english/&quot; target="_blank">avoid worksheets</a> or rote memorization of important words that fit these patterns.As people who have been on this website before know, I am a big proponent of learning through reading and playing. While teaching blends, digraphs, and trigraphs, I would avoid worksheets or rote memorization of important words that fit these patterns.

Final Thoughts

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Blends, digraphs, and trigraphs are important pieces of grammar for people who are teaching English to others. Although they are very similar ideas, there are small differences that make these three grammar points unique from each other. Before you start teaching your child these patterns, make sure you understand the basic concepts involved. When you start teaching, practice these patterns one-by-one and review them often. It may seem a long way off now, but practicing these English fundamentals will help make your child a fluent English speaker in no time at all. Good luck, and keep on practicing. Blends, digraphs, and trigraphs are important pieces of grammar for people who are teaching English to others. Although they are very similar ideas, there are small differences that make these three grammar points unique from each other. Before you start teaching your child these patterns, make sure you understand the basic concepts involved. When you start teaching, practice these patterns one-by-one and review them often. It may seem a long way off now, but practicing these English fundamentals will help make your child a fluent English speaker in no time at all. Good luck, and keep on practicing. 

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