Adjacent Consonant Clusters/Blends

Definitions, examples and free printable word lists for CCVC, CVCC, VCC, CCCVC, CCVCC, and CCCVCC words.

What are Adjacent Consonant Clusters or Blends?

Adjacent consonant clusters or blends are groups of 2 or 3 consonant letters that are next to each other in printed words – each letter represents an individual sound in the spoken word.

For example, the highlighted letters in ‘frog’, ‘clap’ and ‘lamp’ are adjacent consonants.  Examples of words with 3 adjacent consonants include ‘splat’ and ‘string’. 

The term ‘blends’ is often used in the USA and it was commonly used in UK schools for some time.  However, the expression ‘adjacent consonants’ is more popular these days.  Other names include consonant clusters and consonant blends, but all these terms mean the same thing.  

Blends are different from digraphs or trigraphs where groups of letters represent one sound.  Click on the following link for a more detailed explanation of the difference between digraphs and blends.

Some young children and some non-native English speakers find pronouncing words with adjacent consonants difficult.  With phonics instruction, CVC words are normally introduced first because they are easier to read for beginners.

We discuss how to teach adjacent consonants/blends in our article on phonics instruction.

Adjacent consonants can be found at the beginning of words, the end of words or both.  For example, ‘crab’, ’link’ and ‘trunk’. 

Different terminology is used to describe words containing adjacent consonants depending on where they are in the word.  For example see CCVC words, CVCC words and other abbreviations below.

CCVC Words

CCVC is an abbreviation for words with a consonantconsonantvowelconsonant letter pattern. 

For example, the letters in frog, grip, swim and trap are arranged in the CCVC pattern.

Common examples of adjacent consonants at the start of CCVC words include: bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fl, fr, gl, gr, pl, pr, sc, sk, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, sw, tr and tw.

Children are normally taught how to read CCVC words after they have become reasonably proficient at reading CVC words

CCVC Word List

Note that the words in brackets aren’t technically CCVC words because they end in digraphs.  However, they start with the CCV letter pattern and children shouldn’t find them any more difficult to read if they are already familiar with these word endings.

Click the following link to download this list as a free printable pdf document.

blab bled blip blob blot (black bless bliss block bluff) 

brad brag bran brat bred brim (brass brick)

clad clam clan clap clef clip clod clog clop clot club (class click cliff clock cluck)

crab crag cram crib crop crux (crack crass cress cross)

drab drag dram dreg drip drop drug drum (dress drill)

flab flag flan flap flat flax fled flex flip flit flog flop flux (floss)

fret frog from (frill frock)

glad glen glib glob glum glut (glass gloss)

grab grad gram gran grid grim grin grip grit grub (grass grill gruff)

plan pleb plex plod plop plot plug plum plus (pluck) 

prim prod prom prop (press)

scab scam scan scot scum (scoff scuff)

skid skim skip skit (skill skull)

slab slam slap slat sled slid slim slip slit slob slop slot slug slum (slack slick)

smog smug (smack smell smock) 

snag snap snip snob snot snub snug (snack sniff snuck snuff)

spam span spat sped spin spit spot spud spun (spell spill)

stab stag stem step stop stub stud stun (stack staff stick) 

swam swim swum (swell) 

tram trap trek trim trip trod trot (track troll truck)

twig twin twit (twill) 

CVCC Words

CVCC is an abbreviation for words with a consonantvowelconsonantconsonant letter pattern. 

For example, the letters in went, camp, milk and band are arranged in the CVCC pattern.  

Children are normally taught how to read these words after they have become reasonably proficient at reading CVC words and CCVC words.

Some teachers also introduce VCC words before CVCC words.  We’ve provided examples of VCC words further down in this article.

CVCC Word List

Click on the following link to download this list as a free printable pdf document.

(ct) duct fact

(ft) daft deft gift left lift loft raft rift sift soft tuft

(lb) bulb

(ld) gild held meld weld

(lf) golf gulf self

(lk) bulk hulk milk silk sulk

(lm) film helm

(ln) kiln

(lp) gulp help pulp yelp

(lt) belt bolt colt cult gilt hilt jilt jolt kilt melt pelt silt tilt volt wilt

(mp) bump camp damp dump hemp hump jump lamp limp lump pomp pump ramp romp rump wimp

(nd) band bend bond fend fond fund hand lend mend pend pond sand send tend vend wind

(nk) bank bunk conk dank funk honk hunk junk kink lank link mink pink punk rank rink sank sink sunk tank wink yank

(nt) bent dent font hint hunt lent mint pant pent punt rant rent runt sent tent tint vent went

(pt) kept rapt wept

(sk) bask cask desk disk dusk husk mask risk task tusk

(sp) cusp gasp lisp rasp wisp

(st) best bust cast cost dust fast fist gust jest just last lest list lost mast mist must nest past pest rest rust test vast vest west zest

(xt) next text

Other Adjacent Consonant/Blend Letter Patterns


Click on the following link to download these word lists as a free printable pdf document.

VCC Word List

act elf elk ilk elm alp amp imp and end ink ant apt opt ask asp

CCCVC Word List

Note that the word in brackets isn’t technically a CCCVC word because it ends in a digraph.  However, it has the same CCCV pattern at the start of the word. 

scram scrap scrip scrub

splat split

sprat sprig sprog

strap (stress) struck strum strut

CCVCC Word List

blunt bland blank blast blend blink blitz brink brisk clamp clasp cleft clink clump clunk craft cramp crest crimp crisp crust draft drank drift drink drunk flank flask flint flunk frank frisk frost frump gland glint glitz graft grand grant grasp grunt plank plant plump print scalp scant skimp skulk skunk slant slump smelt spank spunk stamp stand stump swept swift tract tramp trump trunk twist

CCCVCC Word List

scrimp script splint sprint spritz strand strict

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