Minimal Pair /əʊ/ and /aʊ/
Below is a list of words that vary only by one having the vowel sound /əʊ/ and the other the vowel sound /aʊ/.
You can use this list to practise the sounds, or as a list of words to be careful in pronouncing.
The /əʊ/ symbol is made up of the short vowel sounds /ə/ and /ʊ/, meaning your mouth moves from the totally relaxed or slack mouth position of /ə/ to the rounded position of /ʊ/ while the /əʊ/ sound is made.
The /aʊ/ symbol finishes with the same /ʊ/ symbol but starts with the /a/ one, meaning the sound starts with the mouth much tighter and further open than with the /ə/ sound of /əʊ/.
bow (n) bow (n/v)