Minimal Pairs /ɪ/ and /i:/
sit and seat
Below are lists of words that vary only by one having the sound /ɪ/ and the other the sound /i:/. You can use this to practise the sounds or as a list of words to be careful to pronounce properly.
This page uses the symbols of the Phonemic Chart. You can listen to the symbols here.
As indicated by the /:/ part of its symbol, /i:/ is a longer sound than /ɪ/ and pronouncing it this way can help distinguish between the two in the pairs of words below. You will also notice, however, that /ɪ/ does not have a dot over it, making it a different mouth position from /i:/. The sound /i:/ is said with the mouth much more spread, something like a broad smile. This is why we say "cheese" rather than "chiz" (or "whizz") when we take photos.
* the meaning of the word is not important at this level, but it can still be used to contrast the pronunciation with the other word. For this reason, some of the words are given at two different levels, the second time being when the meaning is also useful.