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/ cheese 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