These two words can be hard to tell apart if you’re not solid on the vowels. Study the different vowel sounds in this pair so you’ll be able to tell the two words, and other words like them, apart.
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In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to go over the difference between the words ‘staff’ and ‘stuff’. I have several videos comparing vowels, but in this video, we’re going to compare two different words. Thanks to the fan who suggested this topic. These two words, ‘staff’ and ‘stuff’, are a minimal pair. A minimal pair is a set of two words where only one sound is different. ‘Staff’ has the ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’ vowel, and ‘stuff’ has the ‘uh’ as in ‘butter’ vowel. For the ‘aa’ vowel, the jaw drops quite a bit, and the tongue raises in the back. That means you should be able to see a lot of tongue. Aa, aa. Also, the corners of the mouth may pull up and out a bit, exposing some of the top teeth, aa, aa. The ‘uh’ as in ‘butter’ vowel has relaxed lips and a relaxed tongue. It’s a stressed syllable in both ‘butter’ and ‘stuff’, so the jaw will drop a little, but the lips should be completely relaxed, stu-, stuff. And the tongue, too. Stuff.
Let’s take a look a these two words in slow motion.
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That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s