Minimal Pairs initial /f/ and /p/

as in fast and past

Below is a list of words that vary only by one having the initial sound /f/ and the other the initial sound /p/.

You can use this list to practise the sounds, or as a list of words to be careful in pronouncing.

Both of these sounds are produced with just air and no voice, but the way they are pronounced is very different.

/p/ is producing by building up the air and pressure behind lips that are squeezed together and then releasing it, similar to making a popping sound. This means that your mouth moves during the production of the sound and that it is impossible to extend the sound after your mouth is open and the air has been released.

/f/ is pronounced with your top teeth touching your bottom lip, and the sound can be extended for as long as you like without moving your mouth just by continuing to blow through the gap between those two parts of your mouth.


fast past

foot put

fork pork


face pace

fan pan

fax packs

fee P

feel peel

feet peat

fig pig

fine pine

fleas please

fool pool

fought port

found pound

from prom

full pull

fun pun


fail pale

fair pair

far Pa

fat pat

felt pelt

fen pen

fence pence

few pew

file pile

fill pill

find pined

firm perm

first pursed

fix picks

flight plight

fly ply

fop pop

free pre

fresher pressure

fries prize

fry pry

paid fade

phase pays


fad pad

faint paint

fart part

fashion passion

fate pate

fear pier

ferry perry

fin pin

fit pit

flan plan

fold polled

folk poke

fond pond

four pour

fours pause

fray pray

fro pro

froze prose

fund punned

funk punk

fur per

phrase praise


faced paste

fang pang

farce parse

feed peed

fend penned

finch pinch

flack plaque

flank plank

fled pled

flee plea

fleet pleat

flop plop

flume plume

flunk plunk

flush plush

flux plucks

foal poll

foes pose

ford poured

fox pox

frank prank

frig prig

fug pug

furl pearl

fuss pus