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What are minimal pairs?

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A minimal pair or close pair consists of two words with sounds that are very similar but have different meanings.

For example, rot and lot may sound similar, especially to some non-native English speakers.

Below are ten other examples of minimal pairs, in the each sentence choose the correct word. Try saying the words out aloud, do you notice how similar they sound?

  • 1) Heat up the water in a ___.

  • 2) You can throw all the rubbish into the ___.

  • 3) We ___ a great weekend.

  • 4) You can ___ the envelop and post it.

  • 5) The ___ was just wide enough for the dog to squeeze through.

  • 6) He polishes the ___ buttons on his uniform.

  • 7) Take a ___ of this soup and tell me if you like it.

  • 8) She caught a butterfly in a ___.

  • 9) See a doctor about the pain in your ___.

  • 10) He help the young girl ___ her shoelaces.