F and V minimal pairs
Here are 32 picture cards, word lists, and example sentences using the f and v minimal pairs. These words are minimal pairs because they are pronounced the same way except for one sound. In minimal pairs with one syllable, this occurs at the start of the word (initial sound) and the end of the word (final sound).
This is a useful resource for teaching these sounds and will help young learners and non-native English speakers distinguish the 2 sounds. There is also a guide below on how to make the correct sounds with your mouth.
The cards can be used in any flashcard games you have, for a matching activity, a memory game, or just rote learning. You just need to print them and cut them out.
Some of the words in these minimal pairs are a little difficult for beginners but hopefully, they will pick up some new vocabulary along the way.
How to make the F sound
To make the F sound, rest your top teeth on your lower lip, Now, blow air between your teeth and your lip. This sound is unvoiced meaning you do not use your throat/vocal cords at all.
How to make the V sound
To make the V sound, you use the same technique as making the F sound. The difference is that it is voiced. This time use your vocal cords. There should be a slight buzzing or vibration in your throat.
F and V minimal pairs list (initial sound)
|fail - veil||fan - van||fast - vast||fat - vat|
|fear - veer||fee - V||feel - veal||fault - vault|
|feign - vein||fender - vendor||ferry - very||few – view|
|fie - vie||file - vile||fine - vine||foal - vole|
|focal - vocal||foist - voiced||folly – volley||foul - vowel|
F and V minimal pairs list (final sound)
|belief - believe||calf - carve||chaff - chav||duff - dove|
|grief - grieve||gif - give||half - halve||infest - invest|
|leaf - leave||life - live||off - of||proof - prove|
|reef - reeve||refuse - reviews||safe - save||staff - starve|
|strife - strive||surface - service||waif - wave|
Leave the leaf on the tree.
He carved a calf in wood.
Only a few have seen the view.
The fan in the van is fine.
The vat is full of fat.
It is his fault the vault is open.
I strive to stay out of strife.
Don’t refuse the reviews.
If you are looking for more minimal pairs, check out the K and T minimal pairs, the S and SH minimal pairs, or others in the pronunciation archive.
There is also a fantastic listening activity that you can use for all the minimal pairs here.