What Are Consonants? (with Examples)

A consonant is a letter of the alphabet that represents a basic speech sound produced by obstructing the breath in the vocal tract. All the letters in the alphabet apart from A, E, I, O, and U (called vowels) are consonants.

consonants example

Obstructing Breath in the Vocal Tract

Here are some examples of how sound is produced by obstructing the breath in the vocal tract: A consonant can be combined with a vowel to form a syllable.

Use a before a consonant sound, and use an before a vowel sound. (NB: The important word here is sound. A word that starts with a vowel letter could start with a consonant sound (e.g., unicorn starts with a y sound) and vice versa.) For example:

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See Also

What are vowels? What are syllables? Glossary of grammatical terms