s and t minimal pairs

Free S and T minimal pairs list and pictures

S and T minimal pairs

Here we have some free resources for S and T minimal pairs, words that only differ by these two sounds. There are flashcards, word lists, and practice sentences that you can use.

These resources are not only great for ironing out any speech problems that learners may have, but they can also be used to help teach new vocabulary and improve listening skills.

If you need quick guides on how to pronounce these sounds, visit the K and T minimal pairs page (for K), and the S and SH page (for S).

S and T minimal pairs pictures

Above and below there are 4 pages with 32 printable picture and word cards. These can be used to make learning more fun by adding visuals and playing different kinds of flashcard games.

They contain mostly simple words that lower-level students and children can understand or learn easily. The cards feature the minimal pairs S and T in the initial and final positions.

The pairs of words included are – 

Sheet 1 – sack tack, sank tank, sap tap, and sea tea.

Sheet 2 – sail tail, sell tell, sew toe, and sick tick.

Sheet 3 – ace eight, ducks duct, hiss hit, and kiss kit.

Sheet 4 – mince mint, palace pallet, prince print, and rice right. 

One fun activity that you can do with these flashcards in the ESL classroom is to have a minimal pairs listening activity. 

To do this, choose a pair and say one of the words. Learners are to try and guess which word you said. If the picture and word cards have been cut out,  students can hold up the word they heard.

To make this even more challenging, hide your mouth behind a book or sheet of paper so learners cannot lip read. You can also choose 5 or more minimal pairs and read them aloud in succession.

S and T minimal pairs lists

Here are some useful word lists that you can use to create your own materials on minimal pairs with S and T. The lists are in alphabetical order and have been separated into the initial, medial, and final positions.

Initial pairs

cellar teller

sable table

sack tack

sad tad

sag tag

sail tail

sailor tailor

saint taint

sake take

same tame

sang tang

sank tank

sap tap

scene teen

sea tea

seam team

sear tear

seat teat

seer tier

seize tease

sell tell

send tend

sent tent

sew toe

sick tick

side tide

sigh tie

sin tin

sing ting

singe tinge

single tingle

sip tip

six ticks

sock tock

soil toil

sold told

sole toll

son ton

sonic tonic

soon tune

sooner tuner

sore tore

sort taught

sour tower

soy toy

sub tub

such touch

suck tuck

suffer tougher

suitor tutor

surf turf

swede tweed

sweet tweet

swine twine

swirl twirl

switch twitch

Medial pairs

ascend attend

awesome autumn

bouncy bounty

dousing doubting

fleecing fleeting

foreseen fourteen

incense intense

lucid looted

mincer minter

nestled nettled

odyssey oddity

parsley partly

placing plating

posse potty

racing rating

rancid ranted

whistling whittling

Final pairs

ace eight

aches ached

bass bait

chance chant

coughs coughed

creeks creaked

dense dent

diverse divert

ducks duct

face fete

false fault

fleece fleet

force fort

forks forked

grease greet

grouse grout

guess get

hearse hurt

hiss hit

kiss kit

lace late

licks licked

loose lute

mass mat

mess met

mice might

milks milked

mince mint

nice night

palace pallet

parks parked

pass pat

pence pent

place plate

prince print

pus putt

race rate

rice right

riffs rift

yes yet

Practice sentences

Ask students to read these fun sentences for more S and T minimal pairs practice.


A sailor sent a tent to a tailor.

Placing tea on plating by the sea.

It is a nice night to toil the soil.

An awesome autumn for racing ratings.

It is partly parsley and rice, right?

He told her he sold mince and mint.

For more silly practice with these target sounds, check out the tongue twisters with T, and the S SH tongue twisters.

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