J is for Jams and Jellies

Homemade jams and jellies found at a church sale.

History and significance of the letter J

The letter J is a consonant and, as the newest addition to the alphabet, one of the least used.

In English, the letter J is followed by a vowel.

English words do not end in the letter J. Words ending in a “dzh” sound are spelled with a g followed by an e to make a soft g or j sound.

edge, forge, fudge, sludge


hadj [Arabic], raj [Hindi]

The letter J was originally used as a variation of the letter I, to create a distinctive ending to lower case Roman numerals, e.g., “xviij” for “18”. Other than that, classical Latin did not have a letter J until Latin scholars started to add them.

In 1524, the letter J began to be used as a distinct letter in Renaissance Italian and Middle High German. In English, too, the letter J became useful as new sounds entered the language, starting in 1634. Before that, for example, “JUSTICE” was written as “IVSTICE”. The vowel I, used as a consonant, came to be expressed as a J.

Other languages have adopted the letter J but pronounce it differently. Some languages, for example, modern Celtic, do not use J except in proper names.

Fun J words









Special reading assignment

  1. A junction is a crossroad or intersection. A junction box is something else.
  2. The name of the first month of the year, January, is taken from the Roman Janus, a diety with two faces, one looking forward and the other back.
  3. The month of June is named after Roman goddess Juno, wife of Jupiter.
  4. The month of July is named after Roman emperor Julius Caesar (b. 100 BC; d. 44 BC).


K is for Kangaroo

This kangaroo at the Toronto Zoo is doing a bit of grooming.
This kangaroo at the Toronto Zoo is doing a bit of grooming.

Consonant — consonant combinations

kb        inkblot                                      bk        subkingdom

kc        porkchop                                 ck        truck

kd        markdown                                dk        vodka

kf         blackfly                                    fk         offkey

kg        ginkgo  [tree]                            gk        Bangkok [city]

kh        khaki                                        hk        latchkey

kk        bookkeeper                              kk        lockkeeper

kl         ankle                                        lk         milk

km       workmen                                  mk       gymkhana

kn        knee                                         nk        monk

kp        jackpot                                     pk        napkin

kr         muskrat                                    rk         mark

ks         marksman                                 sk         skill

kt         necktie                                     tk         catkin

kw       silkworm                                  wk       awkward

ky        cocky                                       yk        Vandyke


Consonant — vowel combinations

ka        kangaroo                                  ak        akin

ke        keep                                         ek        eke

ki         kick                                          ik         ikebana

ko        koala                                        ok        okay

ku        kudos                                       uk        ukulele

ky        kylin                                         yk        tyke



  1. In the list of “Consonant — Consonant Combinations”, how many are compound words rather than simple words?
  2. Can you think of other examples for the lists? Write them down.
  3. Create your own sentences using the words in the lists.


Special reading assignment

  1. Kangaroos are marsupial mammals; the female has a pocket in which undeveloped young are nurtured. They grow until large enough to be always sticking ears or feet out of the pocket. The mother weans her young in a safe environment.
  2. Most marsupials live in Australia. In North America, the opossum is an example of a marsupial. Have you seen an opossum or a kangaroo?

F is for Fall Fair

Norwood Fall Fair
The Ferris wheel is always the central attraction at the fall fair.

Consonant — consonant combinations

fb         puffball                                     bf         dumbfounded

fc         off-centre [off-center, US]        cf

fd         half-done                                  df         goldfish

ff          iffy                                            ff          riff-raff

fg         Afghan                                     gf         jugful

fh         selfhood                                   hf         truthful

fj          fjord (or fiord)                          jf

fk         offkey                                       kf         blackfly

fl          flow                                          lf          elf

fm        self-made                                 mf        roomful

fn         deafness                                   nf         unfit

fp         hoofprint                                   pf         campfire

fr         frown                                       rf         perfume

fs         offshoot                                    sf         misfit

ft          gift                                            tf          artful

fw        halfway                                   wf        sawfish

fx         FX                                           xf         exfoliate

fy         verify                                        yf         mayfly

Consonant — vowel combinations

fa         fall                                            af         after

fe         feel                                           ef         effect

fi          find                                           if          if

fo         fob                                           of         often

fu         full                                            uf         ruffle

fy         puffy                                         yf         mayfly


  1. Add some more words to the “Consonant — Consonant Combinations” word list and the “Consonant — Vowel Combinations” word list.
  2. Identify suffixes, prefixes, and compound words.
  3. Make sure that you know the meaning of each word. Use it in a sentence.

Special reading assignment

  1. Fogerty and his friend Petroff found fuzzy frozen figs from Finland in the freezer.

D is for Dog

Canis lupus familiaris
A dog walker in a city park.

Consonant — consonant combinations

db        tidbit                                         bd        abduct

dc        handcuffs                                  cd

dd        caddy                                       dd        wedded

df         goldfish                                   fd         chiefdom

dg        edge                                         gd        kingdom

dh        jodhpurs                                   hd        withdraw

dj         adjust                                       jd        

dk        vodka                                       kd        workday

dl         headline                                   ld         bold

dm       windmill                                  md       gumdrop

dn        midnight                                  nd        send

dp        sandpiper                                 pd        update

dq        bed quilt                                   qd

dr         drive                                         rd         murder

ds         friends                                      sd         wisdom

dt         hardtop                                    td         hotdog

dv        advent                                      vd       

dw       midwife                                    wd       powder

dy        dynamic                                    yd        hydrate

dz         adze                                         zd         samizdat 

Consonant — vowel combinations

da        dab                                          ad        admire

de        debit                                        ed        dotted

di         did                                           id         rid

do        doughnut (or donut)                od        odd

du        dub                                          ud        puddle

dy        dynasty                                    yd        hydro rate 


  1. Look at the list of consonant—consonant combinations and think of more words for each set of two letters.
  2. Which letter combinations exist only in a compound or two-part word?
  3. Add a vowel between two consonants to make some new words.
  4. Look at the consonant—vowel combinations and think of more words for each. Which combinations are rare and which, common?
  5. Write the words in the air, first with your right hand and then your left hand. Try writing the words so they look right to someone facing you. Have fun!



C is for Clover

Trifolium pratense
Clover is found growing in fields and along roadsides.

Significance and history

C is a consonant [Con = with; son = sound; ant = causing] and may be spelled, “cee”.

C is a derived from the Greek gamma and the Semitic gimel.

The original meaning for gimel is “camel”. The Phoenician symbol was sideways, pointed up like a camel’s hump, but perhaps the original symbol was meant to be a throwing stick like a boomerang.

 As an abbreviation, C stands for Centigrade or Celsius; century; circa, or cubic.

The Roman numeral C is a symbol for 100.

cf.  stands for “compare”, from the Latin, conferre.

Special characters

© stands for copyright. A copyright statement consists of the copyright symbol ( ©  ), the author’s name or the publishers, and the date of publication.

© 1973, John W. & Sons, Inc.

Copyright © Charlotte Gray, 1999 


  1.  Can you think of any abbreviations or acronyms beginning with the letter C?