Minimal Pairs

desk disk
fan van

A minimal pair is a pair of 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

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

Vowel Sounds

Minimal Pairs /ɪ/ and /i:/ sit seat

Minimal Pairs /e/ and /ɪ/ desk disk

Minimal Pairs /e/ and /eɪ/ wet wait

Minimal Pairs /æ/ and /ʌ/ bat but

Minimal Pairs /əʊ/ and /ɔ:/ so saw

Minimal Pairs /ɒ/ and /əʊ/ not note

Minimal Pairs /æ/ and /e/ bad bed

Minimal Pairs /ɑ:/ and /ɜ:/ fast first

Consonant Sounds

Minimal Pairs /b/ and /v/ berry very

Minimal Pairs /b/ and /p/ buy pie

Minimal Pairs /n/ and /ŋ/ thin thing

Minimal Pairs /l/ and /r/ alive arrive

Minimal Pairs /ʧ/ and /t/ catch cat

Minimal Pairs /s/ and /ʃ/ sea she

Minimal Pairs /f/ and /v/ fan van

Minimal Pairs /f/ and /h/ fat hat

Minimal Pairs /f/ and /θ/ free three

Minimal Pairs /s/ and /θ/ sink think

Minimal Pairs /ð/ and /z/ with whizz

Minimal Pairs /ʤ/ and /z/ page pays

Minimal Pairs /d/ and /ʤ/ bad badge

Initial Consonant Sounds

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

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

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

Final Consonant Sounds

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

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

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