An ELT Glossary : Minimal pairs



Definition : Two words that differ only in one phoneme are called minimal pairs.

Examples :  bin-been/bɪn bi:n/taint-paint /teɪnt peɪnt/bill-pill /bɪl pɪl/ are all minimal pairs.

Extra information : Minimal pairs can be used in the classroom to help students distinguish between and produce phonemes which they have difficulty with. See here for some teaching ideas : Developing Bottom-Up Decoding Skills for Listening