Author: British Council | Published on 1 April 2023


Learners need to hear and produce confusing sounds correctly to communicate effectively. 

Here is a fun and interactive game you could use at any stage in the lesson. 


Listen to the pronunciation of these minimal pairs

[play audio]

Consonant sounds: Vowel sounds:

free        three 

thought  taught

chop      shop

wash     was 

save      safe

hard      heart

play       pray

zoo        shoe

fit           feet

white      wet

last         lost

sand       send

said        sad

far          fur

pot         part

pair        poor


Choose five minimal pairs (ten words). Choose sounds that your learners find confusing

Read the words aloud. Ask different learners to write them on the board. If they make mistakes, drill the words (say, point, learners repeat) and help them notice the sound and spelling. 

Tell learners you will play a game with the ten words on the board. They must write down six of these words in their notebooks. 


Say: ‘Let’s play Bingo! When you hear one of your words, put a tick next to it (demonstrate on the board). When you have ticked all six words, shout ‘Bingo!’ Ready?’

Slowly read out the words in random order until a learner shouts ‘Bingo!’ Check if the words are correct. Clap the winner.  

Learners play again in pairs or groups with the same words and new bingo cards. 


Confusing (sounds): Sounds which are commonly mistaken (e.g. ship and sheep, tree and three).

Consonant: A non-vowel sound. Consonants are pronounced by stopping the air from flowing easily through the mouth (e.g. b, g, k, t, v).

Drill:  A classroom technique used to practise new language. It involves the teacher modelling a word or a sentence and the learners repeating it.

Minimal pairs: Pairs of words that only have one sound different (e.g. bat and bet, cow and how).

Random order: Where a sequence is mixed or jumbled and does not have a regular pattern. 

Vowel:  A sound made when breath comes from the mouth without being blocked by teeth, tongue or lips 

Vowel sounds In English are listed below:

/ɪ/ as in ship  /ɑː/ as in bath

/e/as in egg  /aɪ/ as in find

/æ/ as in apple /eɪ/ as in Spain

/ʌ/ as in cup /ɔɪ/ as in boy

/ɒ/ as in stop /aʊ/ as in cow

/ʊ/ as in book /əʊ/ as in phone

/iː/ as in tree /ɪə/ as in deer

/ɔː/ as in sport  /ɛː/ as in chair

/uː/ as in root /ɜː/ as in bird

          /ə/ as in the