Minimal Pairs initial /t/ and /d/

as in two and do

Below is a list of words that vary only by one having the beginning sound /t/ and the other the beginning sound /d/.

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

Initial /t/ and /d/ are much easier to recognise than final /t/ and /d/. The mouth and tongue positions are very similar, but for /t/ we don’t use the vocal cords but instead release much more air, at times making it almost like spitting. You should be able to feel that air on a hand held just in front of your mouth.


town down

two do


tie die

ton done

too do

touch Dutch

train drain

try dry


tear (v/n) dare

tear (n) dear

ten den

tide dyed

tip dip

tongue dung

torn dawn


tame dame

tart dart

teal deal

team deem

tech deck

teen dean

tent dent

tide died

tin din

tire dire

toast dosed

toe doe

toes doze

tomb doom

tough duff

tout doubt

tower dour

tuck duck

tug dug

tux ducks

tyre dire


tab dab

tail dale

tale dale

tamp damp

tank dank

teed deed

tell dell

tick dick

tier deer

till dill

tine dine

tint dint

titch ditch

tock dock

tosh dosh

toss doss

tote dote

tresses dresses

tub dub

tummy dummy

tusk dusk    

tyke dike