/v/ or /b/?

If your mother tongue is Spanish, you may confuse the sounds /v/ and /b/ in English. Listen to these two words:

bowel vowel

So what is the difference?

  • /b/ is a plosive sound – you block the air fully with both lips and then release it.
  • /v/ is a fricative sound – you squeeze the air between the top teeth and lower lip.
  • Both sounds are voiced.
  • English indicates which of these sounds is to be pronounced in the spelling (except ‘of’ pronounced /əv/).


Drill: Sounds

ba aba ab
va ava av
bavab vabav

Drill: Words

bowel vowel
vine bine
ban van
vroom broom
jive jibe
rove robe

Drill: Sentences

A very beautiful berry.
Hoover the bathroom.
I love to rove the Balkans.
Basically, we’ve broken the blind.
It’s vastly better than before, Vicky.

The Sound of English

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