There are five vowels and 21 consonants in English, right? Well, as a matter of fact, the answer is no. Consonants and vowels are sounds, not letters. Shocking, isn’t it? But, we need to let you know these things.

So, in this topic, we will let you learn more about consonant sounds and how they are being pronounced.

The difference between consonants and vowels

consonants and vowels examples

Consonant and vowels sounds differ in quantity and it sounds.

A vowel is a speech sound made with your mouth fairly open, the nucleus of a spoken syllable.

When your mouth is fairly close, you are making a consonant sound.

Consonants require more precise articulation than vowels hence some people find it hard to do. Some have difficulty with their “s” sounds, others with their “r” sounds. It normal to struggle with these sounds, however, it should be corrected immediately.

How consonants are produced

Saying consonant sounds involves constricting airflow in different locations in your mouth by:

Short stopping before releasing the air (“p”, “b”, “t”, “d”, “k”, “g”).


papa                target               gas

banana            dada                keys

My papa refills the gas tanks.

The key targets are written on the pad.

Changing the airflow and associated resonance to your nose (m,n, ng)

M Consonant

When you are doing the M consonant, just lightly press your lips together while producing the sound using your vocal cords. Even Although most of the air moves over your soft palate, some air moves through the nose, and it feels like it is vibrating through your nasal passage. This is why the M consonant is referred to as a nasal sound.


mother            money

welcome         drum


If you will become a missionary, you should donate all of your money. 

My mother knows how to play the banjo, maracas, electric guitar, and the drums. 

N Consonant

consonants and vowels- n consonants

The N consonant sound is produced by parting your lips slightly. Let the tongue touches the roof your mouth just behind your teeth. You should feel a vibration in your nose.


never    nothing

any        guns

then      downtown

She has nothing left in her bank account

I am going to search for guns in the downtown area of New York

Ng Consonant

You can’t study the N sound without also studying the ng sound (IPA symbol: /ŋ/). This is the third nasal sound in English. It is also produced by moving air through your nasal passage, but the tongue placement is different than the N sound. Your tongue is raised and further back in your mouth.


thing       sing

The singer has a passion has a thing for songwriting. 

Pressing the air flow through a narrow space ( soft th, hard th, “f”, “v”, “s”, “z”, “sh”, “zh” as in “vision”, and “h”,


Thin, think, then                happy, chutzpah, horse

Fat, fast, puff                      Sight, sat, passBuzz, zebra, zipper

Vision, mission. Cession

The thin boy thinks he is a good thief.

The pastry chef bakes cream puffs faster than the others.

Combining the sounds then squeeze it (“ch”, “j”)


charcoal, patch, coach,

Just, jar, jazz

The bar opens for just jazz nights. 

The coach patches things up between the two rival playmates. 

narrowing the vocal tract (“w”, “y”, “r”, “l”)


water, crow, crawl

year, sly, yeah

rest, car, part

last, yell, calories

The crow fetched water from the pitcher

Every year my runway model friends sly the runway of Paris.

Consonants that are like vowels – approximants

Some consonants and vowel sounds have similar sounds or sometimes called as semivowel sounds. The letters y, w, r, and l are semivowels sounds that are produced with lesser mouth constrictions compared to other consonant sounds. When you are producing sounds with less mouth constriction, it is called approximants.

Approximants have a fine line between vowels and consonant sounds. Just like “y” sound versus “ee” sound. They have almost the same pronunciations. Also, the letter “w” and “ooh” sound. Let’s look at the following examples.

There’s very little difference between the consonant sound “y” and the vowel sound “ee” as in “see/sea/me”, and between the consonant sound “w” and the vowel sound “ooh” as in “moon/rule/grew”.

Nasal, Voiced, and voiceless consonants

Some consonants and are produced using your voice (“b”, “d”, “g”, “m”, “n”, “ng”, “th, “v”, “z”, “zh”, “j”, “y”, “w”, “r”, “l”). On the other hand, the rest are voiceless (“p”, “t”, “k”, “th” as in “thin”, “f”, “s”, “sh”, “ch”, “h”).

Most consonants come in neat voiced-voiceless pairs – “p/b”, “t/d”, “k/g”, “th as in thin/th as in then”, “f/v”, “s/z”, “sh/zh as in vision”, and “ch/j” .


To produce nasal consonant, lower the soft palate and close your mouth and let the air escape through the nose.


sang      ring

singer    cling


Voiced consonants require the use of the vocal cords to produce their signature sounds. To produce voiced consonants, you tighten and relax your vocal cords as you speak, letting your vocal cords modulate the flow of the breath expelled from the lungs. Feeling your throat vibrate is the best way to know if you are producing consonant sounds.

Examples of voiced consonants are B, D, G, J, L, M, N, Ng, R, Sz, Th (as in the word “then”), V, W, Y, and Z.


book    love

then    zipper

The broken zipper is mine. 

She loves to read books and drink coffee. 

Voiceless consonants

The voiceless consonant does not use the vocal cords. In producing it, you just allow the air to flow freely from your lungs to your mouth, where the tongue, teeth, and lips will do the modulation of the sound.

Examples of voiceless consonants are Ch, F, K, P, S, Sh, T, and Th (as in “thick”).


channel        fan

thanks         shoes

sorry            kick

The idol thanked her fans for their overwhelming support and love. 

I have to kick my pair of shoes under my bed because it stinks so badly. 

Consonants and vowels are vital in learning the English language. So, make this opportunity to read and learn freely.

Read: Vowels and Consonants of the Alphabet 

English Word Families and Its Importance