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Minimal Pairs /f/ and /h/

as in fat and hat

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

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

/h/ is pronounced with a puff of air from a wide open mouth so that, for example, "ha" can be said without changing your mouth position. It is similar to blowing steam onto your glasses so you can clean them and a bit like a sigh.

/f/ is pronounced with a much smaller mouth than /h/, with the teeth near or touching the bottom lip. This means that, unlike "ha", you have to open your mouth wider to say the second part of the word "far". Using the same mouth position as /f/, your voice produces the sound /v/.


fat hat

feel he'll


fair hair

fall hall

far ha

fed head

feel heel

fee he

feet heat

fir her

fit hit

fizz his

funny honey


fail hail

farm harm

fart heart

fate hate

fear hear

fees he's

fight height

fill hill

five hive

force horse

found hound

four whore

fun Hun

phone hone


faced haste

fad had

fare hare

feed he’d

fell hell

fence hence

few hew

foal whole

foam home

fog hog


fag hag

fang hang

fawn horn

fey hay

fob hob

foe hoe

foes hose

fop hop

fore haw

fowl howl

funky hunky

furl hurl

phase haze

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