Categorized | Pronunciation

Minimal Pairs: /s/ vs /ʃ/

Sip or ship? These minimal pairs help practice the difference, targeting the sounds while having fun with pronunciation. Print the activity sheet below for greatly interactive lessons.

If you don’t have a pdf reader, go here for the latest version from Adobe.

minimal pairs s vs sh thumbnailWhat to do

  1. Download and print the handout.
  2. Illustrate the difference between the two sounds. Emphasize tongue and lip position in addition to voicing (or lack of).
  3. Read aloud while students circle the correct picture. (Target: Listening)
  4. Use the minimal pairs in “Sentences” to illustrate the importance of the sounds in context. Ask students to circle the correct word. (Target: Listening)
  5. Have students work in pairs with “More Practice.” In pairs, one student reads while the other chooses the word that was elucidated. (Target: Speaking/ Listening)
  6. Confirm understanding of your lesson by asking students to read sample minimal pairs while you or the class selects the word that was heard. (Target: Speaking/ Listening)

If you haven’t used them before, minimal pairs are an excellent way to tackle challenging sounds in an entertaining way. They truly inject life into a classroom when used at the right time.

You may also be interested in these word pairs:     /l/ vs /r/     /f/ vs /v/     /i/ vs /I/     /z/ vs /dʒ/