Minimal Pairs /æ/ and /ʌ/

bat and but

This page uses the symbols of the Phonemic Chart. You can listen to the symbols here.

Below are lists of words that vary only by one having the sound /æ/ and the other the sound /ʌ/. You can use this to practise the sounds or as a list of words to be careful to pronounce properly.

/æ/ and /ʌ/ are the two closest vowel sounds in English and so it is very difficult to hear and pronounce the difference. In fact, in some American accents there is no distinction between the two. It is still worth language learners working on the difference between them, however, as there are many words that vary only by this sound.

Elementary

bat but

batter butter

cap cup

cat cut

match much

Pre-Intermediate

bad bud

began begun

drank drunk

fan fun

hat hut

ran run

sang sung

swam swum

Intermediate

ankle uncle

back buck

badge budge

bag bug

ban bun

bank bunk

banker bunker

brash brush

cam come

crash crush

dabble double

dad dud

ham hum

hang hung

mad mud

massed must

pan pun

rang rung

rash rush

sack suck

sax sucks

stand stunned

track truck

Upper-Intermediate

bang bung

cab cub

cram crumb

dam dumb

damp dump

dram drum

fanned fund

flash flush

gnat nut

hag hug

paddle puddle

pack puck

pat putt

rag rug

sand sunned

sank sunk

scam scum

slam slum

slang slung

stack stuck

stank stunk

tang tongue

tag tug

tramps trumps

wan won

Advanced

blabber blubber

champ chump

dab dub

dank dunk

flank flunk

flax flux

gash gush

glam glum

grab grub

hanker hunker

hash hush

hatch hutch

jag jug

lag lug

mat mutt

pap pup

patter putter

rabble rubble

ram rum

sally sully

sap sup

sapper supper

scram scrum

shacks shucks

slag slug

slash slush

slat slut

stab stub

tab tub

tack tuck

tat tut

thrash thrush