Minimal Pairs /e/ and /eɪ/

as in wet and wait

Below is a list of words that vary only by one having the vowel sound /e/ and the other the vowel sound /eɪ/.

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

/e/ is a short single sound that is pronounced without your mouth moving, whereas /eɪ/ is a diphthong (a merging of two sounds) and your mouth gets smaller as you are making the sound.

Elementary

wet wait

Pre-Intermediate

bed bade

bread braid

fell fail

get gate

L ale

let late

M aim

pen pain

rest raced

S ace

sell sale

tech take

test taste

well whale

west waist

Intermediate

best based

chess chase

debt date

edge age

etch H

gel jail

led laid

lens lanes

men main

met mate

pent paint

pled played

set sate

sex sakes

special spatial

tell tale

trend trained

when wane

wren rain

X aches

Upper-Intermediate

beck bake

bell bail

bet bait

bled blade

breast braced

fed fade

fret freight

hell hail

red raid

sent saint

shed shade

shell shale

sped spade

tent taint

tread trade

wed wade

wedge wage

wreck rake

Advanced

betted bated

dell dale

den deign

fen feign

fend feigned

fez phase

fleck flake

fled flayed

heck hake

hex hakes

ken cane

less lace

lest laced

mess mace

pest paste

phlegm flame

rend rained

stead stayed

vend veined

wend waned