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Minimal Pairs Test: Listen and Circle the Pair of Words

In linguistics, minimal pairs are two similar sounding words that differ in only one phonological element and have distinct meanings. For example, ship and sheep both sound the same. But they differ in one sound.

In this activity, we practice this concept with a minimal pairs listening test. First, students listen to the teacher’s pronunciation for each minimal pair. Next, the student adds a checkmark for the correct word.

During the minimal pairs test, the teacher also has to keep track of correct answers. This is because it’s easy to forget what you’ve just said.

Related Minimal Pairs Worksheets

If you need more minimal pairs worksheets, see our free printable activity sheets below.


  1. I am a teacher of the deaf and I love using this to determine my students high frequency auditory discrimination of consonants in the initial position!

  2. Systematic arrangement of minimal pairs according to the similarity of the sounds that we generally get confused.

    Very helpful for practice with beginners.

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