Minimal Pairs /f/ and /θ/

as in free and three

Below is a list of words that vary only by one having the consonant sound /f/ and the other having the consonant sound /θ/ in its place.

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

Both sounds are unvoiced, meaning that you can make the sound just by blowing out air without needing to use your voice. /f/ has the same mouth position as the voiced sound /v/, with the top teeth on the bottom lip and the tongue inside the mouth. /θ/ has the mouth more open with the tongue between the teeth or even poking out of the mouth. You can practise /θ/ by making sure your tongue touches a finger placed on your lips when you say the words below.

Elementary

free three

Pre-Intermediate

deaf death

fought thought

four thaw

Intermediate

fin thin

first thirst

for thaw

fresh thresh

freeze threes

fro throw

froze throws

Upper-Intermediate

fief thief

firm Therm

fort thought

frill thrill

furred third

Advanced

duff doth

fang thang

fawn thorn

fore thaw

fret threat

frieze threes

fug thug

oaf oath

trough troth