Minimal Pair /d/ and /ð/

as in day and they

Below are lists of words that vary only by one having the sound /d/ and the other the sound /ð/ in the same position.

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

These are both voiced sounds where the position of the tongue is very important. /ð/ is pronounced with the tongue staying between the teeth, like a voiced version of the sound /θ/ (also usually spelt “th”). With /d/, the tongue taps behind the top front teeth, similar to /t/ but with use of the voice.

Elementary / Pre-Intermediate

D the
dan than
day they
den then
Ds these
had hath
read wreathe

Intermediate

doe though
lied lithe
ride writhe
she’d sheathe
sudden southern

Upper-Intermediate

breed breathe
dare there
dough though
dawn thorn
die thy
load loathe
side scythe
sued soothe
udder other

Advanced

bade bathe
bladder blather
D thee
dine thine
dye thy
header heather
laid lathe
larder lather
reed wreathe
teed teethe
tide tithe
wordy worthy

Written for EnglishClub by Alex Case