Level: any

Jump to Short I Long E (bid/bead)

Jump to Short E Short I (bed/bid)

Jump to Short E Long A (bed/bade)

Jump to Long A Long E (bade/bead)

Jump to Short A Short U (bad/bud)

Jump to Long O Low Back O (boat/bought--regional)

Jump to Long O Low Back O (bot/boat)

Jump to Short A Short E (bat/bet)

Jump to Short O Short U (bot/but)

Jump to Short O Low Back O (bot/bought--regional)

Jump to Book or Boot?

Objective:

Improve accurate pronunciation of American vowel sounds with pairs of words that have slightly different vowel sounds.

Note: This page is currently under construction. Audio for each group will ultimately appear.

Note: The pairs are loosely grouped according to level of spelling and meaning/usage, not according to difficulty of pronunciation. Some lists have overlap, words appearing in more than one list. I found these words listed according to other sources, so I preserved the overlap in case it is important.

Note: A regional pronunciation of the vowel sound in the word "bought" is included on this page. Certain areas of the United States clearly distinguish between "bot" and "bought". In other regions, these words sound like homonyms of each other. For more information, search the key words "American pronunciation low back merger".

Extension: Learners can improve pronunciation in context by drafting sentences that include both words of each pair. The sentence writing activity is good vocabulary/grammar practice too, especially if a teacher can guide for correct grammar and usage.

American Vowel Pronunciation Pairs: Short I and Long E
Elementary Pre-Intermediate Intermediate Upper Intermediate Advanced
1short_i_long_e.mp3 2short_i_long_e.mp3 3short_i_long_e.mp3 4short_i_long_e.mp3 5short_i_long_e.mp3
  1. bin/bean
  2. bitch/beach
  3. chip/cheap
  4. did/deed
  5. fit/feet
  6. grin/green
  7. his/he’s
  8. is/ease
  9. it/eat
  10. mitt/meet
  11. sit/seat
  12. slip/sleep
  1. bit/beat
  2. itch/each
  3. fill/feel
  4. hid/heed
  5. hill/he’ll
  6. hit/heat
  7. ill/eel
  8. kill/keel
  9. kip/keep
  10. lip/leap
  11. mill/meal
  12. pick/peek
  13. piss/piece
  14. pitch/peach
  15. shill/she’ll
  16. sick/seek
  17. sin/seen
  18. still/steal
  1. chick/cheek
  2. chit/cheat
  3. dill/deal
  4. gin/gene
  5. grid/greed
  6. hip/heap
  7. kid/keyed
  8. knit/neat
  9. lick/leak
  10. piss/peace
  11. risen/reason
  12. shit/sheet
  13. sill/seal
  14. sim/seem
  15. sin/scene
  16. still/steel
  17. till/teal
  18. tin/teen
  19. tizz/teas
  1. ‘til/teal
  2. bid/bead
  3. bitch/beech
  4. biz/bees
  5. cist/ceased
  6. dip/deep
  7. fist/feast
  8. fizz/fees
  9. pill/peel
  10. pip/peep
  11. pit/peat
  12. shin/sheen
  13. skid/skied
  14. skim/scheme
  15. tick/teak
  1. bib/Beeb
  2. blip/bleep
  3. crick/creek
  4. din/dean
  5. finned/fiend
  6. flit/fleet
  7. gyp/jeep
  8. grist/greased
  9. sim/seam
  10. sip/seep
  11. skit/skeet
  12. slick/sleek
  13. slit/sleet
  14. tit/teat
  15. tizz/tease
American Vowel Pronunciation Pairs: Short E and Short I
Elementary Pre-Intermediate Intermediate Upper Intermediate Advanced
1short_e_short_i.mp3 2short_e_short_i.mp3 3short_e_short_i.mp3 4short_e_short_i.mp3 5short_e_short_i.mp3
  1. dead/did
  2. desk/disk
  1. belt/built
  2. fell/fill
  3. head/hid
  4. left/lift
  5. mess/miss
  1. bed/bid
  2. beg/big
  3. bell/bill
  4. bet/bit
  5. check/chick
  6. gem/gym
  7. hell/hill
  8. hem/him
  9. let/lit
  10. pet/pit
  1. bend/binned
  2. bent/bint
  3. cheque/chick
  4. deck/dick
  5. fen/fin
  6. get/git
  7. jest/gist
  8. leapt/lipped
  9. led/lid
  10. lest/list
  11. kecks/kicks
  12. kept/kipped
  13. meddle/middle
  14. messed/mist
  15. peg/pig
  16. set/sit
  1. bless/bliss
  2. Celt/kilt
  3. clef/cliff
  4. clench/clinch
  5. crept/crypt
  6. dell/dill
  7. den/din
  8. dent/dint
  9. fetter/fitter
  10. fez/fizz
  11. fleck/flick
  12. fretter/fritter
  13. gelding/gilding
  14. heck/hick
  15. hem/hymn
  16. hep/hip
  17. hex/hicks
  18. ken/kin
  19. ketch/kitsch
  20. Med/mid
  21. phlegm/flim
  22. quell/quill
American Vowel Pronunciation Pairs: Short E and Long A
Elementary Pre-Intermediate Intermediate Upper Intermediate Advanced
1short_e_long_a.mp3 2short_e_long_a.mp3 3short_e_long_a.mp3 4short_e_long_a.mp3 5short_e_long_a.mp3
  1. bed/bade
  2. bread/braid
  3. etch/H
  4. fess/face
  5. get/gate
  6. kecks/cakes
  7. L/ale
  8. M/aim
  9. pet/pate
  10. S/ace
  11. tech/take
  12. well/whale
  13. wet/wait
  14. when/wane
  15. wren/rain
  1. best/based
  2. edge/age
  3. fell/fail
  4. let/late
  5. men/main
  6. met/mate
  7. pen/pain
  8. pent/paint
  9. pled/played
  10. rest/raced
  11. sell/sale
  12. set/sate
  13. sex/sakes
  14. special/spatial
  15. test/taste
  16. west/waist
  1. beck/bake
  2. bell/bail
  3. bet/bait
  4. chess/chase
  5. debt/date
  6. fem/fame
  7. gel/jail
  8. led/laid
  9. lens/lanes
  10. shell/shale
  11. tell/tale
  12. tent/taint
  13. trend/trained
  14. wedge/wage
  15. X/aches
  1. bled/blade
  2. breast/braced
  3. fed/fade
  4. fez/phase
  5. fret/freight
  6. hell/hail
  7. less/lace
  8. mess/mace
  9. phlegm/flame
  10. red/raid
  11. sent/saint
  12. shed/shade
  13. sped/spade
  14. tread/trade
  15. wed/wade
  16. wreck/rake
  1. betted/bated
  2. dell/dale
  3. den/deign
  4. fen/feign
  5. fend/feigned
  6. fleck/flake
  7. fled/flayed
  8. heck/hake
  9. hex/hakes
  10. ken/cane
  11. lest/laced
  12. pest/paste
  13. rend/rained
  14. stead/stayed
  15. vend/veined
  16. wend/waned
American Vowel Pronunciation Pairs: Long A and Long E
Elementary Pre-Intermediate Intermediate Upper Intermediate Advanced
1long_a_long_e.mp3 2long_a_long_e.mp3 3long_a_long_e.mp3 4long_a_long_e.mp3 5long_a_long_e.mp3
  1. may/me
  2. say/see
  3. way/we
  1. main/mean
  2. mail/meal
  3. mate/meat
  4. fade/feed
  5. fail/feel
  6. hate/heat
  1. favor/fever
  2. pace/peace
  3. wait/wheat
  4. wake/week
  5. wave/weave
  6. snake/sneak
  7. sale/seal
  8. pale/peel
  9. lane/lean
  10. stale/steal
  1. tame/team
  2. trait/treat
  3. tray/tree
  4. straight/street
  5. tail/teal
  6. grace/grease
  7. grade/greed
  8. grain/green
  9. great/greet
  10. sake/seek
  11. same/seem
  12. sane/scene
  13. grave/grieve
  14. lace/lease
  15. lake/leak
  16. phrase/freeze
  17. sailing/ceiling
  18. slate/sleet
  19. slave/sleeve
  20. spade/speed
  1. whale/wheel
  2. ale/eel
  3. mistake/mystique
  4. overrate/overeat
  5. nail/kneel
  6. fray/free
  7. hail/heal
  8. play/plea
  9. raid/read
  10. rail/reel
  11. rake/wreak
  12. shake/sheik
  13. spray/spree
  14. staple/steeple
American Vowel Pronunciation Pairs: Short A and Short U
Elementary Pre-Intermediate Intermediate Upper Intermediate Advanced
1short_a_short_u.mp3 2short_a_short_u.mp3 3short_a_short_u.mp3 4short_a_short_u.mp3 5short_a_short_u.mp3
  1. bat/but
  2. batter/butter
  3. cap/cup
  4. cat/cut
  5. match/much
  1. bad/bud
  2. began/begun
  3. drank/drunk
  4. fan/fun
  5. hat/hut
  6. ran/run
  7. sang/sung
  8. swam/swum
  1. ankle/uncle
  2. back/buck
  3. badge/budge
  4. bag/bug
  5. ban/bun
  6. bank/bunk
  7. banker/bunker
  8. brash/brush
  9. cam/come
  10. crash/crush
  11. dabble/double
  12. dad/dud
  13. ham/hum
  14. hang/hung
  15. mad/mud
  16. massed/must
  17. pan/pun
  18. rang/rung
  19. rash/rush
  20. sack/suck
  21. sax/sucks
  22. stand/stunned
  23. track/truck
  1. bang/bung
  2. cab/cub
  3. cram/crumb
  4. dam/dumb
  5. damp/dump
  6. dram/drum
  7. fanned/fund
  8. flash/flush
  9. gnat/nut
  10. hag/hug
  11. paddle/puddle
  12. pack/puck
  13. pat/putt
  14. rag/rug
  15. sand/sunned
  16. sank/sunk
  17. scam/scum
  18. slam/slum
  19. slang/slung
  20. stack/stuck
  21. stank/stunk
  22. tang/tongue
  23. tag/tug
  24. tramps/trumps
  25. wan/won
  1. blabber/blubber
  2. champ/chump
  3. dab/dub
  4. dank/dunk
  5. flank/flunk
  6. flax/flux
  7. gash/gush
  8. glam/glum
  9. grab/grub
  10. hanker/hunker
  11. hash/hush
  12. hatch/hutch
  13. jag/jug
  14. lag/lug
  15. mat/mutt
  16. pap/pup
  17. patter/putter
  18. rabble/rubble
  19. ram/rum
  20. sally/sully
  21. sap/sup
  22. sapper/supper
  23. scram/scrum
  24. shacks/shucks
  25. slag/slug
  26. slash/slush
  27. slat/slut
  28. stab/stub
  29. tab/tub
  30. tack/tuck
  31. tat/tut
  32. thrash/thrush
American Vowel Pronunciation Pairs: Long O and Low Back O
Elementary Pre-Intermediate Intermediate Upper Intermediate Advanced
1long_O_lowback_O.mp3 2long_O_lowback_O.mp3 3long_O_lowback_O.mp3 4long_O_lowback_O.mp3 5long_O_lowback_O.mp3
  1. bowl/ball
  2. so/saw
  1. boat/bought
  2. close/claws
  3. drone/drawn
  4. flow/flaw
  5. foal/fall
  6. note/nought
  7. sew/saw
  8. tote/taught
  9. woke/walk
  1. crow/crawl
  2. dome/dom
  3. goal/gall
  4. whole/haul
  5. low/law
  6. roe/raw
  1. cone/con
  2. drone/drawn
  3. go/gore
  4. oat/ought
  5. owed/awed
  6. quote/quat
  7. sew/saw
  1. choke/chalk
  2. close/claws
  3. flow/flaw
  4. goal/gall
  5. hoe/haw
  6. joe/jaw
  7. know/gnaw
  8. low/law
  9. mole/maul
  10. node/gnawed
  11. owe/awe
  12. owed/awed
  13. pose/pause
  14. row/raw
  15. stoke/stalk
  16. tote/taut
American Vowel Pronunciation Pairs: Short O and Long O
Elementary Pre-Intermediate Intermediate Upper Intermediate Advanced
1short_o_long_o.mp3 2short_o_long_o.mp3 3short_o_long_o.mp3 4short_o_long_o.mp3 5short_o_long_o.mp3
  1. not/note
  2. want/won’t
  1. got/goat
  2. hop/hope
  3. on/own
  1. cost/coast
  2. non/known
  3. odd/owed
  4. rod/road
  5. rot/wrote
  6. sop/soap
  7. stock/stoke
  8. tossed/toast
  9. wok/woke
  1. block/bloke
  2. bond/boned
  3. bossed/boast
  4. clock/cloak
  5. cock/coke
  6. cod/code
  7. col/coal
  8. cop/cope
  9. god/goad
  10. jock/joke
  11. mod/mode
  12. pop/pope
  13. rob/robe
  14. rod/rode
  15. ROM/roam
  16. shod/showed
  17. smock/smoke
  18. sock/soak
  19. sod/sewed
  1. blot/bloat
  2. bod/bode
  3. bonds/bones
  4. chock/choke
  5. cocks/coax
  6. con/cone
  7. cops/copes
  8. crock/croak
  9. doss/dose
  10. dot/dote
  11. foggy/fogey
  12. glob/globe
  13. lob/lobe
  14. lop/lope
  15. mod/mowed
  16. mop/mope
  17. mot/mote
  18. nod/node
  19. odd/ode
  20. rot/rote
  21. slop/slope
  22. sod/sowed
  23. tock/toke
  24. tod/toad
  25. tot/tote
American Vowel Pronunciation Pairs: Short A and Short E
Elementary Pre-Intermediate Intermediate Upper Intermediate Advanced
1short_a_short_e.mp3 2short_a_short_e.mp3 3short_a_short_e.mp3 4short_a_short_e.mp3 5short_a_short_e.mp3
  1. axe/X
  2. back/beck
  3. bad/bed
  4. bag/beg
  5. can/ken
  6. ham/hem
  7. jam/gem
  8. man/men
  9. pat/pet
  1. and/end
  2. flash/flesh
  3. gnat/net
  4. had/head
  5. pack/peck
  6. pan/pen
  7. sad/said
  8. sat/set
  9. spanned/spend
  1. band/bend
  2. bat/bet
  3. dad/dead
  4. gas/guess
  5. gassed/guest
  6. land/lend
  7. manned/mend
  8. marry/merry
  9. shall/shell
  1. axe/ex
  2. fad/fed
  3. mat/met
  4. rabble/rebel
  5. sacks/sex
  6. sax/sex
  7. tack/tech
  8. tamper/temper
  9. track/trek
  1. bland/blend
  2. cattle/kettle
  3. dab/deb
  4. fanned/fend
  5. flax/flecks
  6. frat/fret
  7. tamp/temp
  8. trad/tread
  9. vat/vet
American Vowel Pronunciation Pairs: Short O and Short U
Elementary Pre-Intermediate Intermediate Upper Intermediate Advanced
1short_o_short_u.mp3 2short_o_short_u.mp3 3short_o_short_u.mp3 4short_o_short_u.mp3 5short_o_short_u.mp3
  1. body/buddy
  2. cob/cub
  3. cop/cup
  4. cot/cut
  1. dock/duck
  2. doll/dull
  3. got/gut
  4. hot/hut
  5. not/nut
  1. lock/luck
  2. pop/pup
  3. rob/rub
  4. rot/rut
  5. shot/shut
  6. sock/suck
  7. box/bucks
  8. clock/cluck
  9. collar/color
  1. pomp/pump
  2. poppy/puppy
  3. slosh/slush
  4. snob/snub
  5. stock/stuck
  6. stomp/stump
  7. bomb/bum
  1. coddle/cuddle
  2. flocks/flux
  3. fond/fund
  4. gosh/gush
  5. hobby/hubby
  6. model/muddle
  7. nozzle/nuzzle
  8. otter/utter
  9. pock/puck
  10. wander/wonder
American Vowel Pronunciation Pairs: Short O Low Back O all audio
Elementary Pre-Intermediate Intermediate Upper Intermediate Advanced
  1. bot/bought
  1. not/nought
  1. cot/caught
  2. tot/taught
  1. wok/walk
  2. odd/awed
  1. stock/stalk
Is It Like Book or Boot?
Pairs Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
1bookorboot.mp3 2bookorboot.mp3 3bookorboot.mp3 4bookorboot.mp3 5bookorboot.mp3
  1. full/fool
  2. pull/pool
  3. soot/suit
  1. boo
  2. booed
  3. book
  4. boom
  5. boon
  6. boot
  7. blue
  8. bull
  9. coo
  10. cooed
  11. cook
  12. cool
  13. could
  14. clue
  15. crew
  16. cruel
  17. dew
  18. do
  19. doom
  20. door
  21. douche
  22. drool
  23. dude
  1. duke
  2. due
  3. duel
  4. dues
  5. dupe
  6. flute
  7. flew
  8. fluke
  9. food
  10. foot
  11. fruit
  12. glue
  13. good
  14. goof
  15. goon
  16. goop
  17. goose
  18. grew
  19. gruel
  20. hood
  21. Jew
  22. Jude
  23. juice
  1. June
  2. jute
  3. lewd
  4. look
  5. loom
  6. loon
  7. loose
  8. loot
  9. mood
  10. moon
  11. moose
  12. moot
  13. newt
  14. nook
  15. nude
  16. poo
  17. poof
  18. poop
  19. put
  20. roof
  21. rook
  22. route
  23. rude
  1. shoe
  2. shoes
  3. shook
  4. shoot
  5. should
  6. slew
  7. sluice
  8. sook
  9. soon
  10. soot
  11. spew
  12. spoon
  13. spruce
  14. stew
  15. sue
  16. took
  17. tool
  18. toot
  19. true
  20. wooed
  21. would
  22. you'd
  23. zoo