Minimal Pairs /b/ and /v/

as in berry and very

Below is a list of words that vary only by one having the sound /b/ and the other the sound /v/.

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

/b/ has the same mouth position as /p/, but using your voice. Try saying /p/ and then holding your neck to make sure that your voice is being used when you say /b/. There should be a sudden release of air as you say the sound, meaning that it is impossible to extend it.

/v/ has the same mouth shape as /f/, but using your voice. Put your top teeth on your bottom lip. It is possible to extend this sound for as long as you like.

If you are practising on your own, try saying both words and making sure your pronunciation of each is different, for example by looking at your mouth shape in the mirror.

Elementary

B V

berry very

Pre-Intermediate

ban van

bat vat

beer veer

boat vote

bowl vole

serb serve

Intermediate

bars vase

best vest

bet vet

bow (v/n) vow

bowels vowels

gibbon given

Upper-Intermediate

bale veil

bent vent

bury very

bow (v/n) vow

Advanced

bane vein

bat vat

beer veer

bid vid

bile vile

biz viz

bolt volt

bowels vowels

bowl vole

broom vroom

curb curve

dribble drivel

dub dove

fibre fiver

gibbon given

jibe jive

lobes loaves

rebel revel

verb verve

n = noun, v = verb