Minimal Pair List Consonants /f/ versus /v/, 153 pairs

   Minimal pair: Consonants /f/ versus /v/, 153 pairs

The /f/ sound is spelled with <f>, <ff>, or <ph> in graph . The /v/ sound is spelled <v>, or <ve>. Notice the silent <l> in calve and halve . The homograph grave occurs here meaning a French accent and contrasted with graph .

The contrast is between two labio-dental fricatives, one voiceless and one voiced. The distinction is often used to distinguish noun from verb as in half/halve or shelf/shelve . This may be a problem for German and Dutch learners since those languages do not have a final /v/. The sounds are in any case similar enough to lead to slips of the ear even among native speakers.

Interesting pairs include:

deafen Devon
figure vigour
infantry inventory
reference reverence

The mean density value is 3.1%. The list makes 91 semantic distinctions, a loading of 59%.

belief believe
brief breve 
  briefs breves
calf calve
confection convection
defied divide
defies devise
define divine
  defined divined
  defines divines
  defining divining
deafen Devon 
disbelief disbelieve
elfish elvish
fairy vary
  fairies varies
fail vale
  fails vales
fail veil
  failed veiled
  failing veiling
  fails veils
fain vain
fain vein
fain vane
falter vaulter
  falters vaulters
fan van
  fans vans
fast vast
  fastness vastness
fat vat
  fats vats
fault vault
  faulted vaulted
  faulting vaulting
  faults vaults
fear veer
  feared veered
  fearing veering
  fears veers
fee V 
  fees V's
feign vain
feign vane
  feigns vanes
feign vein
  feigns veins
  feigned veined
  feigns veins
felt veld
fend vend
  fended vended
  fending vending
  fends vends
fender vender
  fenders venders
ferry very
fetch vetch
  fetches vetches
fetid vetted
feud viewed
few view
fewer viewer
fie vie
Fife five
figure vigour
file vile
file vial
  files vials
fine vine
  fines vines
finery vinery
first versed
fiver viva
  fivers vivas
fizz viz
foal vole
  foals voles
focal vocal
foil voile
foist voiced
folly volley
  follies volleys
fox vox
fuse views
graph grave
grief grieve
half halve
infantry inventory
  infantries inventories
infest invest
  infested invested
  infesting investing
  infests invests
leaf leave
  leafing leaving
life live
loofah louvre
  loofahs louvres
love luff
  loving luffing
NAAFI navvy
off of
phial vile
phial vial
  phials vials
plaintiff plaintive
proof prove
  proofing proving
raffish ravish
reef reeve
ref Rev.
reference reverence
  referential reverential
refuse reviews
relief relieve
reproof reprove
rife rive
rifle rival
  rifled rivalled
  rifles rivals
  rifling rivalling
safe save	
  safes saves
safer saver
safer savour
scurfy scurvy
serf serve
shelf shelve
shovel shuffle
  shovelled shuffled
  shovels shuffles
sniffle snivel
  sniffled snivelled
  sniffles snivels
  sniffling snivelling
staff starve
  staffing starving	   
  staffs starves
strife strive
surf serve
  surfing serving
surface service 
  surfaced serviced 
  surfaces services 
  surfacing servicing 
thief thieve
wafer waiver
  wafers waivers
waif waive
  waifs waives
wife wive