Minimal Pair List Vowels 3 and 16, /e/ versus / əʊ / 239 pairs

   Minimal pair: Vowels 3 and 16, /e/ versus / əʊ / 239 pairs

The /e/ vowel is spelled <e>, <ea> in threat and occcurs in the letter names F , M , N and X . The diphthong / əʊ / is spelled in several ways including <oa>, <ow>, <ou> and <oCe>.

This is a contrast bewteen a short front vowel and a back centring diphthong and is not a problem for learners.

In the case of hold/held and its derivatives, behold , uphold and withhold , the distinction is used to signal a tense change.

Interesting pairs include:

peppery popery
Yemen yeomen

The mean density is 3.7%. The pairs make 145 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 61%.

abed abode
ate oat
attend atoned 
bed bode
  bedded boded
  bedding boding
  beds bodes
beheld behold
bell bole	   
belle bole
  belles boles
belled bold
belt bolt
  belted bolted
  belting bolting
  belts bolts
ben bone
  bens bones
bend boned
Benny bony
best boast
  bested boasted
  besting boasting
  bests boasts
bet boat
  bets boats
  betted boated
  betting boating
better boater
  betters boaters
bled blowed
cell Seoul 	  
cell soul
  cells souls
cellar solar
Celt colt
  Celts colts
check choke
  checked choked
  checking choking
  checks chokes
cheque choke
  cheques chokes
Czech choke
  Czechs chokes    
checker choker
  checkers chokers
cleanse clones
clever clover
Cres crows
dealt dolt
debt dote
  debts dotes
dell dole
  dells doles
dent don't
dep dope
Des does
dregs drogues
Ed ode
elder older
  eldest oldest
end owned
ever over
F oaf
  F's oafs
fell foal
  felled foaled
  felling foaling
  fells foals
fem foam
fen phone
  fens phones
fend phoned
fez foes
fled flowed
geld gold
gen Joan 
get goat
  gets goats
guessed ghost 
guest ghost
  guests ghosts 
head hoed
hecks hoax
hex hoax
held hold
hell hole
  hells holes
hell whole
  hells wholes
hem home
  hemmed homed
  hemming homing
  hems homes
hen hone
  hens hones
hep Hope 
intend intoned
Jenny Joanie
ken Colne 
ken cone
  kenned coned 
  kenning coning 
  kens cones 
Kenny coney
kept coped 
ketch coach
  ketches coaches 
lead load
  leaded loaded
  leading loading
leapt loped
left loafed
Len loan
lend loaned
lens loans
Les lows
M ohm
  M's ohms
Med mode
medal modal		   
  medals modals
meddle modal
  meddles modals  
melt moult
  melted moulted
  melting moulting
  melts moults
men moan
mend moaned
messed most
Met moat
N own
  N's owns
Ned node
Nell knoll
net note
  nets notes
  netted noted
  netting noting
peck poke
  pecked poked
  pecking poking
  pecks pokes
pecker poker
  peckers pokers
pen pone
  pens pones
penny pony
  pennies ponies
pep Pope 
  peps Popes 
peppery popery
pest post
  pests posts
pester poster
  pesters posters
Pres pros
read road	
read rode	
red road
  reds roads 
red rode
Rennes roan
rep rope
  reps ropes
res Rose 
rest roast
  rested roasted
  resting roasting
  rests roasts
ret rote
retch roach
  retches roaches
rev rove
  revs roves
  revved roved
  revving roving
safety-belt safety-bolt
  safety-belts safety-bolts
said sewed
  says sews
sec soak
  secs soaks
sex soaks  
sect soaked
sell soul
  sells souls
Sept soaped
shed shewed
shell shoal
  shelled shoaled
  shelling shoaling
  shells shoals
skep scope 
sled slowed
slept sloped
spec spoke
specks spokes
sped Spode 
stead stowed
Sten Stone
stet stoat
Steyning stoning
tech toque
  techs toques
Ted toad
  Teds toads
teddy toady
  teddies toadies
telling tolling
ten tone
  tens tones
tend toned
test toast
  tested toasted
  testing toasting
  tests toasts
threat throat
  threats throats
upheld uphold
veld volt
vet vote
  vets votes
  vetted voted
  vetting voting
wed woad
weld wold
  welds wolds
went won't
withheld withhold  
wren roan
  wrens roans
wretch roach 
  wretches roaches
X oaks
Yemen yeoman
Zen zone