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Minimal Pairs initial /t/ and /d/

two and do

Below are lists of words that vary only by one having the beginning sound /t/ and the other the beginning sound /d/. You can use this to practise the sounds or as a list of words to be careful to pronounce properly.

This page uses the symbols of the Phonemic Chart. You can listen to the symbols here.

Initial /t/ and /d/ are much easier to recognise than final /t/ and /d/. The mouth and tongue positions are very similar, but for /t/ we don’t use the vocal cords but instead release much more air, at times making it almost like spitting. You should be able to feel that air on a hand held just in front of your mouth.


  1. tour door
  2. town down
  3. two do


  1. tie die
  2. ton done
  3. too do
  4. touch Dutch
  5. train drain
  6. try dry


  1. tear (v/n) dare
  2. tear (n) dear
  3. ten den
  4. tide dyed
  5. tip dip
  6. tongue dung
  7. torn dawn


  1. tame dame
  2. tart dart
  3. teal deal
  4. team deem
  5. tech deck
  6. teen dean
  7. tent dent
  8. tide died
  9. tin din
  10. tire dire
  11. toast dosed
  12. toe doe
  13. toes doze
  14. tomb doom
  15. tough duff
  16. tout doubt
  17. tower dour
  18. tuck duck
  19. tug dug
  20. tux ducks
  21. tyre dire


  1. tab dab
  2. tail dale
  3. tale dale
  4. tamp damp
  5. tank dank
  6. teed deed
  7. tell dell
  8. tick dick
  9. tier deer
  10. till dill
  11. tine dine
  12. tint dint
  13. titch ditch
  14. tock dock
  15. tosh dosh
  16. toss doss
  17. tote dote
  18. tresses dresses
  19. tub dub
  20. tummy dummy
  21. tusk dusk    
  22. tyke dike

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