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Minimal Pairs Lists


A minimal pair is a pair of words which differ only in one sound. They are a great way to help your students become more aware of their difficulties with pronunciation. For example, Spanish students often struggle with the pairs "sheet" and "seat", or "cat" and "cut". They can really improve their pronunciation by practising these pairs.


For ways to use these with your students, see my minimal pairs activities page.


æʌ
catcut
ankleuncle
ranrun
drankdrunk
matchmuch

ɜ:ɔ:
workwalk
birdbored
furfor
shirtshort
sirsaw

ʃs
shipsip
shesea
suresore
shootsuit
shysigh

tθ
tinthin
truethrough
treethree
taughtthought
boatboth

rl
fryfly
rightlight
grammarglamour
wronglong
wristlist

vb
voteboat
veryberry
vanban
vestbest
vetbet

ɪi:
shipsheep
iteat
hitheat
binbean
liveleave

æ
hathate
madmade
lacklake
backbake
capcape

sz
sipzip
suezoo
placeplays
ricerise
iceeyes

sθ
sinthin
sumthumb
sankthank
sinkthink
sawthaw

ŋkŋ
thinkthing
sanksang
bankbang
rinkring
sunksung

pb
pinbin
pestbest
pigbig
pitbit
pouredbored

æe
batbet
daddead
packpeck
sadsaid
tanten

ɑ:ɔ:
farfour
tarttaught
partport
farmform
barnborn

ʃ
shoeschoose
sheepcheap
washwatch
mashmatch
cashcatch

dð
dozethose
daythey
darethere
denthen
doughthough

wv
winevine
westvest
whilevile
wetvet
waryvary

pf
poorfour
pairfair
pinefine
pillfill
pleasefleas

 

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