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Consonant Clusters 13 - "Squ-" /skw/


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Consonant Clusters 13 - "Squ-" /skw/


The /skw/ sound is spelt squ- in English, and usually indicates compression. When objects are squeezed, they are squashed into smaller forms, often with a squelching sound.

The cluster is produced by compressing and squeezing the lips together, so there is a pleasing symmetry between the noise made when producing this sound and the words it denotes: another example of echoic onomatopoeia.

Squealing, squeaking and squawking also have this consonant cluster. They all involve making high-pitched noises, and are often produced under pressure. A terrified rat will squeak when cornered or chased by a cat. If you press down hard on your brakes, your car tyres will squeal loudly. 

Squash has a number of diverse meanings. As a verb, it means to press or crush to a flat mass or to a pulp. If you get in the way of a steamroller, it will squash you. As a noun, squash can be a racquet sport played on a walled court, a genus of gourd vegetables, like pumpkins, or a concentrated fruit drink, in which, presumably, fruit has been squashed.

Look at the squashes below:

256px-Tough_return,_365.35A Game of SquashPumpkins_and_Squash_DisplayVarieties of Squashsquash ballSquash Ballfruit squash drinksDrinks of Squash


Let's look at the verbs first.

Match the words in the box with their definitions below. (Hover your mouse over the gaps or question marks (tap on mobiles) to reveal the answers).

  • squash
  • squat
  • squawk
  • squeak
  • squeal
  • squeeze
  • squelch
  • squint
  • squirm
  • squirt


1.   Make a long, loud high-pitched noise. questionmark

2.   Look at something with your eyes partly shut. questionmark

3.   Wriggle like a worm, through boredom, embarrassment, nervousness etc. questionmark

4.   Crush to a flat pulp. questionmark

5.   Press together from both sides. questionmark

6.   Complain loudly and shrilly. questionmark

7.   Force a liquid through a narrow opening at high pressure. questionmark

8.   Make a short, high-pitched noise, often through nervousness. questionmark

9.   Crush with a splashing sound, releasing a lot of liquid. questionmark

10. Crouch close to the ground. questionmark 


Now use the same verbs in the correct forms to complete the sentences. All the verbs are regular.  

1.  When the headmaster praised Martin's poem Traffic Lights in front of the whole school, the poor boy _____questionmark_____ with embarrassment.

2.  When the ball struck Hatem hard in the stomach, he _____questionmark_____ down and tried to get his breath back.

3.  The little children happily went _____questionmark_____ through the mud.

4.  Without hesitation, the intrepid explorer jumped on top of the cockroach and _____questionmark_____ it completely.

5.  The tennis players had to _____questionmark_____ when serving from the East End, as the morning sun was shining right in their eyes.

6.  Eddie tried to stop the cat coming into the house by _____questionmark_____ it with a water pistol.

7.  The mouse _____questionmark_____ when it wanted some cheese.

8.  "Stop _____questionmark_____ and eat your greens," ordered Mrs Banks to her protesting children.

9.  Sylvia had put on so much weight that she found it increasingly difficult to _____questionmark_____ into her jeans.

10. The train entered the station and ______questionmark______ to a stop.


Now it's time for a true or false quiz! Answer true or false.  

a squid

1.   The squid is said to have got its name because it squirted ink at sailors. questionmark

2.   A squatter is a very small person. The name comes from being close to the ground. questionmark

3.   Another meaning of squeal is to betray a secret. questionmark

4.   A squirt is a slang name for a cheeky small child. questionmark

5.   If you earn diddly-squat, you are very wealthy. questionmark

6.   Something that is squishy cannot be squashed. questionmark

7.   If you sign your name with a squiggle, you have very beautiful handwriting. questionmark


8.   A tight squeeze is a very confined space. questionmark 

9.   A squeegee is a cleaning instrument used by window cleaners. questionmark 

10. Everyone enjoys a good dose of the squits. questionmark

11. Your squeeze is usually your boss. questionmark 

That is all I can squeeze into this worksheet! Goodbye!  




Image Credits

Squash (game): By Steve McFarland [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Pumpkins and squash: By MarkBuckawicki (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons Squash ball: By MarcPG (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons Fruit squash drinks: By Joshua Ommen from Amarillo, USA (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Squid: By Carl Chun [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Squeegee: By Clément Bucco-Lechat (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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