Minimal Pair initial /h/ and /r/

as in hat and rat

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

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

The pronunciation of the letter R varies so much by language that an English /r/ can sound like /l/, /w/ or /h/ to speakers of other languages. The confusion with /h/ can most easily be solved by producing that sound with just a puff of air as if you are breathing on your glasses to polish them. Your mouth remains open and unmoving during production of the sound.


ham ram
hat rat
head red
height write
him rim


had rad
hang rang
hate rate
hi rye
hide ride
high rye
hitch rich
hock rock
honey runny
hot rot
whose ruse


hail rail
hair rare
hare rare
height right
hip rip
hit writ
hissed* wrist
hob rob
hoe row
hole roll
hope rope
hung rung
who roo


hail rail
hear rear
here rear
hey ray
hid rid
home roam
hoot route
hose rose
host roast
how row
huff rough
hug rug
hum rum
hush rush
whole roll


hack rack
haft raft
hag rag
hake rake
hank rank
hash rash
hatchet ratchet
hay ray
height rite
hex rex
hick rick
hind rind
hoe roe
hook rook
hoot root
hub rub
hump rump
husk rusk
hut rut
hymn rim
whore roar

Written for EnglishClub by Alex Case