Minimal Pair /f/ and /p/

as in coffee and copy

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

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

These two are both unvoiced sounds, but /p/ is produced with a sudden puff of air almost like spitting, whereas /f/ is a continuous release of air between the top teeth and the bottom lip. It is therefore possible to extend /f/ as much as you like, but not /p/.

Elementary and Pre-Intermediate

beef beep
coffee copy
cuff cup
off op


cough cop
half harp
leaf leap
shift shipped
tiff tip
toff top


drift dripped
gaff gap
loaf lope
loft lopped
naff nap
reef reap


croft cropped
grift gripped
hoof hoop
puff pup
quiff quip
riff rip
sift sipped
sniff snip
whiff whip

Written for EnglishClub by Alex Case