Minimal Pairs /f/ and /v/

as in fan and van

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

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

/f/ and /v/ are pronounced with the same mouth position of the top teeth biting the bottom lip, but with /f/ pronounced with more air and no use of the voicebox.

Elementary and Pre-Intermediate

fan van

ferry very

leaf leave

off of


fast vast

fat vat

fee V

fine vine

foul vowel

gif give

half halve

life live (adjective)

proof prove

safe save


belief believe

fail veil

fear veer

feel veal

fender vendor

grief grieve

staff starve

surf serve


calf carve

chaff chav

duff dove

fault vault

feign vain

feign vein

fie vie

file vile

foist voiced

foal vole

fox vox

guff guv

reef reeve

serf serve

skiff skiv

strife strive

waif waive