Minimal Pair List Vowels 1 and 13, /i/ and / eɪ / 549 pairsThe spellings of /i/ exhibit their usual range, with the common <ee> and <ea>, as well as the letter names B, D, E, G and P, <ei> in ceiling , <ie> in wield , <oe> in foetal , and <ey> and <ay> in key and quay . The spellings of / eɪ / are similarly varied, most commonly <ay>, <ai> and <aCe>, but also the letter names A, H, and J, <ei> in deign and weigh , <eCe> in crepe , and <ey> in Seychelles .
Although this is a contrast between a vowel and a diphthong, there is potential for confusion, especially for those speakers whose language uses a tense /e/ vowel and no front closing diphthong.
I have left in the two pronunciations of re , although I doubt if they count as a minimal pair since they have the same meaning. The pair redid and raided differ in stress as well as vowel quality, but might still be a problem for learners.
The only mildly taboo word pairs are pee / pay and wee/way.
There are a good many interesting pairs which differ widely in part of speech and/or meaning. These include:
The mean density is 6.8%. The 549 pairs make 304 semantic contrasts, a semantic loading of 54%.
alee allay apiece apace B bay B's bays B bey B's beys B's baize be bay being baying be bey beacon bacon bead bayed beak bake beaker baker beakers bakers beaks bakes bean bane beast based beast baste beasts bastes beat bait beating baiting beats baits beat bate beating bating beats bates bee bay bee bey been bane bees baize bees bays bees beys beet bait beets baits beet bate beets bates bleed blade bleeds blades breed braid breeding braiding breeds braids breed brayed breeze braes breeze braise breezed braised breezes braises breezing braising breeze brays breeze braze breezed brazed breezes brazes breezing brazing breezier brazier breve brave breves braves C say ceiling sailing ceilings sailings chic shake chic sheikh chief chafe chiefs chafes cleave clave creak crake creaks crakes creek crake creeks crakes creep crape creep crepe D day D's days D's daze deal dale deals dales dean Dane deans Danes dean deign deans deigns deem dame deems dames demean domain demeans domains DG DJ displease displays E A E's A's E aye E eh each aitch each H Ealing ailing ease A's eat eight eats eights eel ail eels ails eel ale eels ales egret aigret egrets aigrets eke ache eked ached ekes aches eking aching feast faced feat fête feats fêtes feat fate feats fates fee fey feeble fable feed fade feeding fading feeds fades feel fail feeling failing feelings failings feels fails fees phase feet fête feet fate fever favour fevered favoured fevers favours field failed fiend feigned flea flay fleas flays flee flay fleeing flaying flees flays foetal fatal free fray freed frayed freeing fraying frees frays freeze frays freeze phrase freezes phrases freezing phrasing frieze frays frieze phrase friezes phrases G J G's J's G jay G's jays gee J gee jay gene Jane genie Janie genus Janus ghee gay glees glaze GP JP grease grace greased graced greases graces greasing gracing greaves graves greed grade greed grayed greed greyed green grain greens grains greet grate greeted grated greets grates greet great greeting grating greetings gratings grieve grave grieves graves grippe grape grippes grapes he hay he hey heal hail healed hailed healing hailing heals hails heal hale heat hate heated hated heating hating heats hates heel hail heeled hailed heeling hailing heels hails heel hale helpmeet helpmate helpmeets helpmates jean Jane Jeanie Janie jeep jape jeeps japes keel kail keel kale keen cane keened caned keening caning keens canes keep cape keeper caper keepers capers keeps capes key K keys K's key Kay knead neighed knee n_ee knee nay knee neigh knees neighs kneel nail kneeled nailed kneeling nailing kneels nails knees neighs lea lay leas lays lea ley leas leys lead lade leading lading lead laid leak lake leaks lakes lean lain lean lane leans lanes leas laze lease lace leased laced leases laces leasing lacing least laced leave lave leaves laves leaving laving lee lay lees lays lee ley lees leys leek lake leeks lakes lees laze Leigh lay Leigh ley lemur lamer lied late Lima lamer litre later me may mead made mead maid meads maids meal mail meals mails meal male meals males mean main meanly mainly means mains mean mane means manes meat mate meats mates meaty matey meed made meed maid meeds maids meek make meeker maker meet mate meeting mating meets mates mete mate meted mated metes mates meting mating mi may mien main miens mains mien mane miens manes mislead mislaid mystique mistake mystiques mistakes neap nape neaps napes need neighed needier nadir Neil nail ouija wager ouijas wagers overeat overate overeat overrate overeating overrating overeats overrates P pay P's pays PE PA pea pay peace pace peacemaker pacemaker peacemakers pacemakers peal pail peals pails peal pale pealed paled pealing paling peals pales peas pays pease pays peat pate pee pay peed paid peeing paying pees pays peel pail peels pails peel pale peeled paled peeler paler peeling paling peelings palings peels pales peeper paper peepers papers peeve pave peeved paved peeves paves peeving paving people papal Pete pate piece pace pieced paced pieces paces piecing pacing pieced paste plea play pleas plays plead played please plays pleat plate pleated plated pleating plating pleats plates quay K quays K's quay Kay re ray re re read raid reader raider readers raiders reading raiding reads raids read rayed reap rape reaped raped reaping raping reaps rapes redid raided reed raid reeds raids reed rayed reek rake reeked raked reeking raking reeks rakes reel rail reeled railed reeling railing reels rails reeve rave reeves raves scene sane scene seine scenes seines sea say seal sail sealed sailed sealer sailor sealers sailors seals sails seal sale seals sales seam same seashells Seychelles seat sate seated sated seating sating seats sates see say seeing saying seek sake seeks sakes seem same seen sane seen seine sheaves shaves sheep shape siege sage sieges sages Sikh sake Sikhs sakes skeet skate skeets skates sleek slake sleeked slaked sleeking slaking sleeks slakes sleet slate sleeted slated sleetier slatier sleetiest slatiest sleeting slating sleets slates sleety slaty sleeve slave sleeved slaved sleeves slaves sneak snake sneaked snaked sneakier snakier sneakiest snakiest sneaking snaking sneaks snakes sneaky snaky speak spake specious spacious speciously spaciously speciousness spaciousness speed spade speeded spaded speeding spading speeds spades speed spayed spree spray sprees sprays steal stale stealing staling steals stales steed staid steed stayed steel stale steeled staled steeling staling steels stales steeple staple steeples staples Steve stave street straight streets straights street strait streets straits swede suede swede swayed teak take teal tail teal tale team tame teamed tamed teaming taming teams tames teem tame teemed tamed teeming taming teems tames thee they treat trait treats traits tree tray trees trays treed trade 'tween twain unfeeling unfailing unfeelingly unfailingly unseeing unsaying veal vale veal veil we way we weigh we whey weak wake weaken waken weakened wakened weakening wakening weakens wakens weal wail weals wails weal whale weals whales weald wailed weald whaled weals Wales wean wain weans wains wean wane weaned waned weaning waning weans wanes weave waive weaver waiver weavers waivers weaves waives weaving waiving weave wave weaver waver weavers wavers weaves waves weaving waving wee way wees ways wee weigh weeing weighing wees weighs wee whey weed wade weeded waded weeding wading weeds wades weed weighed week wake weeks wakes wheat wait wheat weight wheel wail wheeled wailed wheeling wailing wheels wails wheel whale wheeled whaled wheeling whaling wheels whales wheels Wales wheeze ways wheeze weighs wield wailed wield whaled wreak rake wreaked raked wreaking raking wreaks rakes wreath wraith ye yea