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Minimal Pairs /f/ and /v/

fan and van

Below are lists of words that vary only by one having the sound /f/ and the other having /v/ in its place. You can use these lists to practise the sounds or to tell you which words to be careful to pronounce properly.

This page uses the symbols of the Phonemic Chart. You can listen to the symbols here.
/f/ and /v/ are pronounced with the same mouth position of the top teeth biting the bottom lip, but with /f/ pronounced with more air and no use of the voicebox.

Elementary and Pre-Intermediate

  • fan van
  • fast vast*
  • fat vat*
  • ferry very
  • Fife* five
  • fine vine*
  • gif* give
  • leaf leave
  • off of


  • fear veer*
  • fee V
  • file vile*
  • foul vowel
  • half halve
  • life live (adjective)
  • proof prove
  • safe save
  • waif* wave


  • belief believe
  • fail veil
  • fault vault*
  • feel veal
  • feign* vain
  • fender vendor
  • fetch vetch*
  • foist* voiced
  • grief grieve
  • reef reeve*
  • staff starve
  • surf serve


  • calf carve
  • chaff chav
  • duff dove
  • feign vein
  • fie vie
  • foal vole
  • fox vox
  • guff guv
  • serf serve
  • skiff skiv
  • strife strive
  • waif waive

* 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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