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Minimal Pair /ɒ/ and /ɔ:/

as in cot and caught

Below is a list of words that vary only by one having the vowel sound /ɒ/ and the other the vowel sound /ɔ:/.

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

The biggest difference between these two sounds is that /ɒ/ is a short vowel and /ɔ:/ is a long one. The mouth position is also slightly different, with the mouth in /ɔ:/ being slightly tighter and more rounded.

Elementary / Pre-Intermediate

bod bored
cot caught
fox forks
tock talk
tot taught
was wars
what wart


bot bought
chock chalk
cock cork
cot court
shot short
spot sport
stock stalk
wand warned
wok walk


bold balled
cod cord
dock dork
don dawn
not nought
pot port
rod roared
shone shorn
sot sort


bobble bauble
bog borg
dob daub
rot wrought
snot snort
sod sawed
sot sought
swan sworn
tod toured
wad ward
whop warp

Written for EnglishClub by Alex Case