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Minimal Pair /ð/ and /z/

as in with and whizz

Below is a list of words that vary only by one having the sound /ð/ and the other the sound /z/.

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

/ð/ is similar to the sound /θ/ in "thing" and so is also pronounced with your tongue touching or between your teeth. It can be useful to practise by sticking your tongue right out of your mouth. You can check if you are doing so with a mirror or by putting a finger in front of your lips that should get moist each time. /ð/ in "that" uses your voice, which is why it is sometimes confused with the voiced sound /z/.

/z/ is pronounced with the mouth in the same position as with /s/, but using the vocal cords. The tongue is well inside the mouth, and it can also help to spread the lips thin and wide to make the sound unlike /ð/.


with whizz


then Zen


clothe close

clothing closing

sheathe she's

teethe Ts

teethe teas

teething teasing


bathe bays

breathe breeze

lithe lies

loathe lows

scythe size

seethe Cs

seethe seas


bathe baize

lathe laze

scythe sighs

soothe sues

tithe ties

Written for EnglishClub by Alex Case

Voiced by Jonathan Taylor