Vocalic /r/ discrimination: minimal pairs word lists 1

The /r/ sound is one of the trickiest sounds in the English language and it generally takes children years to master the sound.  Part of the reason for this difficulty is the fact that there are are 24 different ways to produce an /r/ sound based on co-articulation factors.  

Below I provide some word lists of vocalic /r/ minimal pairs.  I will be creating cards to go with each of these sets in the near future.


aw vs ar
-ar discrimination
ought & art
bought bart
caught/cot cart
dot dart
hot heart
pot part
taught tart
scoff scarf
off arf
bob & barb
cob & carb
yawn vs yarn
caw vs car
jaw vs jar
awe vs are

ow vs or
-or discrimination

bow bore
doe door
flow floor
go gore
hose vs horse
low lore
mow more
poe pour
row roar
sow soar
toe tore
woe wore
what wart

*hoe vs whore  – generally considered inappropriate for students


-er discrimination


-ir discrimination


-ur discrimination


-air discrimination

discriminating between multiple vocalic  /r/ sounds

are vs or vs ire vs your
bar vs bore vs burr vs beer vs bare
barring vs boring vs bearing
barn vs born vs burn
car vs core vs care vs cure
cord card cared
cherry vs cheery
chair vs cheer vs chore vs char
court vs cart vs curt
door vs dare vs deer
floor vs flair
far vs fair vs fear vs four vs fir
fort vs fart*
force farce fierce 
ford fared feared
form farm firm 
ferry/fairy vs furry vs fiery
gear vs gore
hear vs higher vs *whore
hearse vs horse
more vs mar vs mere vs mire
porch parch perch
pour vs par ve peer vs pear
port part 
roar vs rawr vs rear vs rare
short vs shirt
share vs shore vs sheer vs shire vs sure
sore vs sear vs sire vs sir vs sewer
store vs stare vs star vs stir vs steer
sport spurt 
tore vs tar vs tear(a) vs tear(ee)
war vs wore vs wire vs were vs we’re vs wear
warn vs worn
wired vs weird vs word
yarn vs yearn


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One thought on “Vocalic /r/ discrimination: minimal pairs word lists

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