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Minimal Pairs /b/ and /p/

buy and pie

Below are lists of words that vary only by one having the sound /b/ and the other the sound /p/. You can use this to practise the sounds or as a list of words to be careful to pronounce properly.

The main difference between /b/ and /p/ is that /b/ is a voiced sound, whereas /p/ is just produced by the puff of air. Also, /b/ is pronounced with less air released than /p/, and this can sometimes be a more useful distinction as it is difficult to feel the vocal cords vibrating when making the /b/ sound.

Elementary
B P
bar Pa
bay* pay
be P
bear* pair
berry perry*
bet* pet
big pig
blaze* plays
but putt*
butter putter*
buy pie
by pie
bye pie
cub* cup

Pre-Intermediate
band panned*
bat pat*
beer pier*
belt pelt*
bill pill
bin pin
bit pit*
blade* played
blain* plane
bland* planned
bore poor
bored pawed*
bought port
braid* prayed
bull* pull
lib* lip
pub pup*
tab* tap

Intermediate
banned panned*
bare pare*
base pace
beak* peak
bear pear
beat peat*
bee pee*
bitch* pitch
blain* plain
blank plank*
blot* plot
board pawed*
bow pow*
braise* prays
bride pride
browed* proud
burr* per
robe rope

Upper-Intermediate
bah* par
bead peed*
beak* peek
bier* peer
blaster* plaster
bleed plead*
blink plink*
bore pour
braise* praise
breast pressed
breech* preach
brick prick*
cab cap
rib rip
tribe tripe*

Advanced/Proficiency
batty patty
beep peep
beet peat
bi pi
blade plaid
bleat pleat
bloom plume
blunder plunder
blush plush
boar paw
boar pour
boo poo
braise preys
brat prat
brawn prawn
brig prig
brim prim
burr purr
butt putt

* the meaning of the word is not important at this level, but it can still be used to contrast the pronunciation with the other word. For this reason, some of the words are given at two different levels, the second time being when the meaning is also useful.

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