Minimal Pair initial /g/ and /w/

as in gate and wait

Below is a list of words that vary only by one starting with the sound /g/ and the other starting with the sound /w/.

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

/g/ and /w/ are very different from each other, with /w/ being similar in mouth position to the vowel sound /u:/, and in fact often called a “semi-vowel”. /g/ has the same mouth position as /k/ but with use of the voice.


gate wait
good wood
got what
gun one
guy why


gate weight
gave wave
gay way
get wet
gone Won
good would
gosh wash
guest west


gay weigh
geek weak
gill will
god wad
gore war
gore wore
guessed west
guide wide
girl whirl
go woe
gun won


gale whale
gaze ways
gear weir
geared weird
geek week
gig wig
gird word
girth worth
guy Y
guys wise


gag wag
gain wane
gale wail
gave waive
gawk walk
gelding welding
gimp wimp
git wit
gotcha wotcha
gourd ward
guile while
guile wile
guise Ys

Written for EnglishClub by Alex Case