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Minimal Pairs initial /f/ and /p/

fast and past

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

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

Both of these sounds are produced with just air and no voice, but the way they are pronounced is very different.

/p/ is producing by building up the air and pressure behind lips that are squeezed together and then releasing it, similar to making a popping sound. This means that your mouth moves during the production of the sound and that it is impossible to extend the sound after your mouth is open and the air has been released.

/f/ is pronounced with your top teeth touching your bottom lip, and the sound can be extended for as long as you like without moving your mouth just by continuing to blow through the gap between those two parts of your mouth.


  • fast past
  • fee* P
  • feel peel*
  • feet peat*
  • fen* pen
  • fine pine*
  • fink* pink
  • first pursed*
  • fleas* please
  • fly ply*
  • fool* pool
  • foot put
  • fop* pop
  • fork pork
  • from prom*
  • fun pun*
  • face pace*


  • fan pan
  • far Pa*
  • fat pat*
  • fax packs
  • felt pelt*
  • few pew*
  • fig pig
  • find pined*
  • flan* plan
  • flight plight*
  • fought port
  • found pound
  • free pre*
  • fry pry*
  • full pull
  • paid fade*
  • file pile*
  • phase* pays


  • fail pale
  • fair pair
  • fart* part
  • fate pate*
  • fence pence
  • ferry perry*
  • fill pill
  • firm perm
  • fit pit*
  • fix picks
  • fold polled*
  • four pour*
  • fray* pray
  • fresher pressure
  • fries prize
  • fro* pro
  • froze prose*
  • fund punned*


  • faced paste*
  • fad pad
  • faint paint
  • fashion passion
  • fear pier
  • feed peed*
  • fin pin
  • foal* poll
  • folk poke
  • fond pond
  • ford* poured
  • fours pause
  • fox pox*
  • frank prank*
  • funk punk
  • fur per
  • furl* pearl
  • phrase praise


  • fang pang
  • farce parse
  • fend penned
  • finch pinch
  • flack plaque
  • flank plank
  • fled pled
  • flee plea
  • fleet pleat
  • flop plop
  • flume plume
  • flunk plunk
  • flush plush
  • flux plucks
  • foes pose
  • frig prig
  • fug pug
  • fuss pus

* the meaning of the word is not important at this level, but it can still be used to contrast the pronunciation with the other word.

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