Minimal Pairs - /æ/ and /e/
May 11, 2021
Minimal Pairs - As you know minimal pairs are words that differ by only one sound. This sound can be a vowel or a consonant (English alphabet has 26 letters - 5 are vowels and rest consonants)
Difference between /æ/ and /e/
Let’s talk about minimal pairs /æ/ and /e/ - what’s the difference-?
Try saying ‘bed’ – when you make the /e/ sound, your tongue is in the front part of your mouth and raised a little towards your palate.
Now say ‘bad’ – when you make the /æ/ sound, your tongue is low, and your mouth opens wide.
Focus on the pronunciation, listen to the sounds and repeat.
Words examples with sentences
Bet / Bat
- Bet - a wager / Bat - a specially shaped wooden piece to hit a ball
- I bet he will bat better this time around.
Beg / Bag
- Beg - to make a strong request / Bag – a container with handles made of leather, plastic, paper, or cloth
- Please do not beg, I will lend you that bag.
Bend / Band
- Bend – to make something change shape or someone submit / Band – a group of musicians
- We cannot bend the rules and take you in the band.
Blend / Bland
- Blend – mixture / Bland – flavorless
- This spice blend is very bland.
Celery / Salary
- Celery - a green plant / Salary - wage
- You can try selling celery to earn a salary.
End / And
- End - to finish or stop / And – conjunction used to connect words or parts of a sentence
- They argued and that was the end of their relationship.
Fest / Fast
- Fest - a festival / Fast - quickly
- The fest fast turned into a nightmare.
Fleshy / Flashy
- Fleshy – overweight / Flashy - expensive or brightly coloured
- He is fleshy and wears flashy clothes.
Kettle / Cattle
- Kettle – a container to boil water / Cattle - bovine animals (cows, bulls, etc) kept for milk and meat
- You use a kettle to boil water, not cattle.
Dead / Dad
- Dead – not living / Dad - father
- Their dad has been dead for 10 years.
Gem / Jam
- Gem – precious or semi-precious stone / Jam - fruit spread
- I bought some jam and chocolate gems.
Hem / Ham
- Hem – edge of a cloth folded over and sewn / Ham – smoked and salted upper part of pig leg
- She tried to steal the ham by stuffing it in the hem.
Lend / Land
- Lend – to give something with the condition it will be returned after sometime / Land – part of Earth’s surface not underwater.
- Can you lend me the money to buy that land?
Letter / Latter
- Letter – a written message delivered by mail/ Latter – second of two things or people
- The latter half of the letter was quite offensive.
Men / Man
- Men – plural of man / Man – a male human being
- Can one man fight 10 men?
Mesh / Mash
- Mesh – interwoven or intertwined / Mash – crushing something to a pulp
- Use this mesh to strain the mash.
Merry / Marry
- Merry - happy / Marry - marriage
- I am going to marry a merry girl.
- Melody- a musical tune / Malady – disorder or sickness
- This soothing melody will help you deal with the malady.
Pen / Pan
- Pen – instrument for writing or drawing / Pan – a container used for cooking
- I asked you for a pen and you got me a pan.
Pet / Pat
- Pet – domestic animal / Pat – a popular name or to stroke with a hand
- Pat got a new pet bird.
Peck / Pack
- Peck – a quick kiss / Pack – to fill a space
- He gave her a peck on the cheek and started to pack his bags.
Pedal / Paddle
- Pedal – a foot lever to control certain vehicles / Paddle – an oar to row a boat
- He hit the pedal with a paddle and broke it.
Said / Sad
- Said – a past form of say / Sad - unhappy
- John said he was sad.
Send / Sand
- Send – dispatch / Sand – a granular material
- Could you please send in a truckload of sand immediately?
Shell / Shall
- Shell – a hard outer covering of nuts, eggs, some fruit or animals / Shall – modal verb for future tense or to express intention
- What shall I do with all these shells?
Ten / Tan
- Ten – a number after 9 / Tan – having dark skin after being in sun for long
- A spray tan can last up to ten days.
Temper / Tamper
- Temper – prone to anger / Tamper – to change something in order to cause damage
- He lost his temper when he caught his son tempering with the alarm.
Trek / Track
- Trek – to walk a long distance / Track – rough path or road
- We went for a trek and found a great spot, off the beaten track.
Keep practicing. Happy Learning!
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