Minimal pairs are words or phrases in a language which are identical except for a single sound.
- Bed /bɛd/ – Bad /bæd/
- His /hɪz/ – Hiss /hɪs/
- Glad /glæd/ – Clad /klæd/
These differences are subtle and can completely change the meaning of a word or phrase.
Therefore, firstly, it’s important to first notice these sound differences for your own comprehension of spoken English, and secondly, so that you can replicate these sounds when speaking and be more easily understood.
In the following lessons, you will have listening/speaking exercises where the goal is to listen to the minimal pairs and then say them each out loud in order to practice both your listening comprehension skills and pronunciation skills.
- /b/ vs /p/ – e.g. big vs pig
- Consonants vs Consonants + R - e.g. sting vs string
- /b/ vs /v/ – e.g. bat vs vat
- /ʧ/ vs /t/ – e.g. cat vs catch
- /d/ and /ʤ/ - e.g. bad vs badge
- /ʤ/ and /z/ – e.g. page vs pays
- /l/ vs /ɫ/ - Light L vs Dark L
- /ð/ vs /z/ - e.g. with vs whizz
- /m/ vs /n/ - e.g. grim vs grin
- /w/ vs /r/ - e.g. wake vs rake
- /v/ vs /w/ - e.g. vine vs wine
- /r/ vs /l/ - e.g. read vs lead
- /s/ vs /ʃ/ - e.g. save vs shave
- /s/ vs /z/ - e.g. sip vs zip
- /t/ vs /ɾ/ - e.g. T vs T-flap
- /t/ vs /d/ - e.g. tie vs die
- /th/ vs /f/ - e.g. oath vs oaf
- /k/ vs /g/ - e.g. cap vs gap
- th vs /s/ - e.g. thong vs song
- /f/ vs /v/ - e.g. fan vs van
- No H vs H - e.g. (h)ost vs host