Minimal Pair List Consonants /b/ versus /w/, 284 pairs

   Minimal pair: Consonants /b/ versus /w/, 284 pairs

Almost all the contrasts occur at the start of the word since /w/ can only occur in syllable-initial position. The spelling of /b/ is <b> throughout. The /w/ sound is <w> or <wh>. Notice how the homograph bow makes pairs with woe and wow and how the partial homograph wear makes pairs with bare and, when capitalised, with beer .

The contrast is between a plosive and a semivowel, close together in the mouth. It is a known problem for Spanish speakers, but it is not a contrast that troubles many other learners.

Pairs involving taboo words are be/wee and bank/wank .

Interesting pairs include:

bacon waken
billowy willowy

Billowy , by the way, has the distinction of being one of the few seven-letter words whose letters are in alphabetical order.

The mean density value is 3.8%. The list makes 141 semantic distinctions, a loading of 49%.

abate await
  abated awaited
  abates awaits
  abating awaiting
aboard award
B we
back whack
  backed whacked
  backing whacking
  backings whackings
  backs whacks
backs wax
backer whacker
  backers whackers
bacon waken
bag wag
  bagged wagged
  bagging wagging
  bags wags
bail wail
  bailed wailed
  bailing wailing
  bails wails
bails Wales 
bait wait
  baited waited
  baiting waiting
  baits waits
bake wake
  baked waked
  bakes wakes
  baking waking
bald walled
bale wail
  baled wailed
  baling wailing
  bales wails
bales Wales 
balk walk
  balked walked
  balking walking
  balks walks
ball wall
  balling walling
  balled walled
  balls walls
bane wane 
bang whang
  bangs whangs
bangle wangle
  bangles wangles
bank wank
  banked wanked
  banking wanking
  banks wanks
bare ware 
  bares wares
barer wearer
based waist
based waste
baste waist    
  bastes waists
baste waste
  basted wasted
  bastes waists
  basting wasting	
bate wait
  bated waited
  bating waiting
  bates waits
bauble warble
  baubles warbles
bawd ward
  bawds wards
bawd warred
bay way
  bays ways
bay weigh
  bays weighs
  baying weighing
  bayed weighed  
bayed wade
be we
be wee		 
  being weeing
beacon weaken
  beacons weakens	
bead weed
beadle wheedle
  beadles wheedles
beady weedy
beak weak
  beaks weeks
beak week
  beak weeks
bear ware 
  bears wares
bear wear 
  bears wears
  bearing wearing
bearable wearable
beard weird
bearer wearer
  bearers wearers
beau whoa
beau woe
  beaux woes
beaver weaver
  beavers weavers
bed wed
  bedded wedded
  bedding wedding
  beds weds
bee we
bee wee
  bees wees
beep weep
  beeps weeps
beer Wear 	 
beer weir
  beers weirs
beery weary
  beerier wearier
  beeriest weariest
beeves weaves
bell well
  bells wells
  belled welled
  belling welling
belled weld
belle well
  belles wells 
belt welt
  belts welts
ben wen
  bens wens
bench wench
  benches wenches
bend wend
  bended wended
  bending wending
  bends wends
bent went
berry wherry
  berries wherries
best west
bet wet
  bets wets
  betted wetted
  betting wetting
better wetter
bey way
  beys ways
bey weigh
  beys weighs  
bhang whang
  bhangs whangs
bide wide	   
  bides wides
bier Wear
bier weir
  biers weirs
biff whiff
  biffs whiffs
big Whig 
big wig
bight white
  bights whites
bile while
bill will
  bills wills
  billed willed
  billing willing
billy willy
  billies willies
billow willow
  billows willows
billowy willowy
bind whined	   
bind wind
  binding winding
  binds winds
  bound wound
bine whine
  bines whines
bine wine
  bines wines
bird whirred
bird word
  birds words
bitch withch
  bitches witches
  bitching witching
bite white
  bites whites
  biting whiting
boar war
  boars wars
board ward
  boards wards
  boarded warded
  boarding warding
boarder warder
  boarders warders
bode woad
bodied wadded
body wadi
  bodies wadis
bold wold
bond wand
  bonds wands
Bonn wan
boo woo
  booing wooing
  booed wooed
  boos woos
boom womb
  booms wombs
booze woos
bore war
  bored warred
  boring warring
  bores wars
bored ward	  
border warder
  borders warders
botch watch
  botched watched
  botches watches
  botching watching
botcher watcher
  botchers watchers
bottle wattle
  bottles wattles
bough wow
  boughs wows
bought wart
Bourne warn
bow whoa
bow woe
  bows woes
bow wow
  bows wows
  bowed wowed
  bowing wowing
built wilt
bull wool
  bulls wools
bully woolly
  bullies woollies
bun one
  buns ones
burr were
burr whirr
  burrs whirrs
burke work
  burked worked
  burkes works
  burking working
burnt weren't
burst worst
  bursting worsting
  bursts worsts
bury wherry
  buries wherries
buy why
buy Y 
  buys Y's 
buys wise
buyer wire
  buyers wires
by Y 
by why
bye Y 
bye why
byes wise
forborne forewarn
obey away	   
rebound rewound
unbind unwind
  unbinding unwinding
  unbinds unwinds
  unbound unwound
well-born well-worn