Vowel and Consonant Combinations

There are two vowel and consonant combinations that are fairly common. These patterns are so popular that they've been given labels. They are usually known as VCCV or VCCCV combinations. The Vs and Cs stand for vowels and consonants. Let's take a closer look at each.


These words have two consonants sandwiched by two vowels. Sometimes the consonants are doubled, such as in attack. Other times, there are consonant combinations. Here are 20 words of varying levels of difficulty:

  • attack
  • tunnel
  • cassette
  • chimney
  • ignite
  • effect
  • college
  • buffalo
  • orbit
  • compare
  • effort
  • fellow
  • entire
  • thunder
  • blanket
  • pillow
  • challenge
  • service
  • suspend
  • pretzel


Believe it or not, there are a whole lot of words that have three consonants together in the middle of a word! Sometimes, the word is divided into syllables in the middle of these consonants. Other times, the three letters combine to make one sound, such as str in the word distract. Here are 24 words that fit this pattern:

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The Dreaded VCCCCV

Expand your brain! Can you think of any words that might fit this pattern? Here's one — instruct. N, S, T, and R are all consonants that are surrounded by vowels. Can you think of any others?

  • Christmas
  • complaint
  • contract
  • luncheon
  • extra
  • castle
  • Congress
  • complex
  • contrast
  • Words to Know

    root word

    This is the basic form of a word, without any prefixes or suffixes. In the word remarkable, the root word is mark.

  • pumpkin
  • improve
  • mishandle
  • English
  • conflict
  • distrust
  • subtract
  • instead
  • bramble
  • although
  • construction
  • exchange
  • transform
  • contraction
  • puzzle

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Radical Changes

Prefixes can completely change the meaning of a root word. When you add prefixes like re and dis to a root word like appear, you get words that mean totally different things. Can you draw a picture to illustrate these two meanings? Can you think of any other prefixes that can change the meaning of a root word like that?

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  3. Just the Facts, Ma'am
  4. Vowel and Consonant Combinations
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