Minimal Pairs

desk disk, fan van
minimal pairs by EnglishClub

A minimal pair is two words that vary by only a single sound, usually meaning sounds that may confuse English learners, like the /f/ and /v/ in fan and van, or the /e/ and /ɪ/ in desk and disk.

Vowel Sounds with audio

Minimal Pair /ɪ/ and /i:/ sit seat

Minimal Pair /e/ and /ɪ/ desk disk

Minimal Pair /e/ and /eɪ/ wet wait

Minimal Pair /æ/ and /ʌ/ bat but

Minimal Pair /əʊ/ and /ɔ:/ so saw

Minimal Pair /ɒ/ and /əʊ/ not note

Minimal Pair /æ/ and /e/ bad bed

Minimal Pair /ɑ:/ and /ɜ:/ fast first

Minimal Pair /æ/ and /ɑ:/ had hard

Minimal Pair /ɒ/ and /ɔ:/ cot caught

Minimal Pair /əʊ/ and /aʊ/ know now

Consonant Sounds with audio

Minimal Pair /b/ and /v/ berry very

Minimal Pair /b/ and /p/ buy pie

Minimal Pair /n/ and /ŋ/ thin thing

Minimal Pair /l/ and /r/ alive arrive

Minimal Pair /ʧ/ and /t/ catch cat

Minimal Pair /s/ and /ʃ/ sea she

Minimal Pair /f/ and /v/ fan van

Minimal Pair /f/ and /h/ fat hat

Minimal Pair /f/ and /θ/ free three

Minimal Pair /s/ and /θ/ sink think

Minimal Pair /ð/ and /z/ with whizz

Minimal Pair /ʤ/ and /z/ page pays

Minimal Pair /d/ and /ʤ/ bad badge

Minimal Pair /f/ and /p/ coffee copy

Minimal Pair /kw/ and /k/ quick kick

Minimal Pair /tʃ/ and /dʒ/ cheap jeep

Minimal Pair /tʃ/ and /ʃ/ chair share

Minimal Pair /d/ and /ð/ day they

Minimal Pair /t/ and /θ/ tree three

Initial Consonant Sounds with audio

Minimal Pair initial /f/ and /p/ fast past

Minimal Pair initial /k/ and /g/ came game

Minimal Pair initial /t/ and /d/ two do

Minimal Pair initial /v/ and /w/ vow wow

Minimal Pair initial /g/ and /w/ gate weight

Minimal Pair initial /h/ and /r/ hat rat

Minimal Pair initial /r/ and /w/ rich which

Minimal Pair initial /ʤ/ and /j/ jaw your

Minimal Pair initial /w/ and no /w/ where air*

Minimal Pair initial /h/ and no /h/ hate eight*

Final Consonant Sounds with audio

Minimal Pair final /k/ and /g/ back bag

Minimal Pair final /m/ and /n/ am an

Minimal Pair final /t/ and /d/ hat had

Minimal Pair final /s/ and /z/ bus buzz

Minimal Pair final /n/ and /ŋ/ thin thing

Minimal Pair final /ŋk/ and /ŋ/ think thing

Minimal Pair final /dʒ/ and /dʒi/ edge edgy*

Minimal Pair final /tʃ/ and /tʃi/ catch catchy*

*Note that this pair may not be considered a true minimal pair by the strictest definition.

These pages use the symbols of the Phonemic Chart. You can listen to the symbols here or print the chart here.

Written for EnglishClub by Alex Case


Nobody has the right to obey.'