John’s English Blog

I’m John, an English language teacher. Welcome to my blog.


Minimal pairs /I/ and /e/


A minimal pair is a pair of words which differ by only one sound such as bit and bet.

This exercise is about the sounds /I/ and /e/. These are the vowels in bit and bet.

how to pronounce /I/

Lips: wide
Tongue part: centre
Tongue height: half open
Tongue tension: tense
Duration: short

how to pronounce /e/

Lips: wide
Tongue part: front
Tongue height: half open
Tongue tension: relaxed
Duration: short


Listen to the video for the minimal pairs below.
Record yourself and listen to yourself.

Waiter, the bill please.
The school bell rang for the beginning of lunch time.

Yesterday his dog bit a man.
I bet my horse will finish first.

A chick is a baby chicken.
Check your answers for obvious mistakes.

I did it my way.
I know a dead parrot when I see one.

You children are so noisy. Stop that din this instant!
The interview felt like walking into the lion’s den.

Can you fill my water bottle, please?
The child fell off her bicycle.

The cat hid behind the sofa.
Ouch, I hit my head.

Jack and Jill went up the hill.
That will happen when Hell freezes over.

Not just my kith and kin, but my wider family.
I don’t know. It’s beyond my ken.

I love roast lamb with mint sauce.
In my Spanish class, I meant to say, “I’m embarrassed”, but by mistake I said, “I’m pregnant.”

The pirates dug a pit for their treasure.
Do you have a pet such as a cat or a dog?

Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?
I see a red door and I want it painted black.

Sid Vicious was a famous punk.
You just need to eat less, but it’s easier said than done.

I am a man more sinned against than sinning.
I’ll send you an email later.

I just couldn’t sit still. I had ants in my pants.
Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona.

It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.
What sex is your cat, male of female?

The student’s cupboard contained only a tin of beans.
I’ll see you at ten.

The trick is to warm the jar before you try to open it.
We walked all day through forests and over hills. It was a good trek.

Will you or won’t you?
Well, OK then, I’ll do it.

Do you think Scotland will win the match?
When are you going to put up that shelf?

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you have any comments, questions or corrections please write them below.

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