Minimal Pairs /f/ and /θ/

as in free and three

Below is a list of words that vary only by one having the consonant sound /f/ and the other having the consonant sound /θ/ in its place.

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

Both sounds are unvoiced, meaning that you can make the sound just by blowing out air without needing to use your voice. /f/ has the same mouth position as the voiced sound /v/, with the top teeth on the bottom lip and the tongue inside the mouth. /θ/ has the mouth more open with the tongue between the teeth or even poking out of the mouth. You can practise /θ/ by making sure your tongue touches a finger placed on your lips when you say the words below.


free three


deaf death

fought thought

four thaw


fin thin

first thirst

for thaw

fresh thresh

freeze threes

fro throw

froze throws


fief thief

firm Therm

fort thought

frill thrill

furred third


duff doth

fang thang

fawn thorn

fore thaw

fret threat

frieze threes

fug thug

oaf oath

trough troth