Minimal Pair List Consonants /r/ versus /w/, 290 pairs

   Minimal pair: Consonants /r/ versus /w/, 290 pairs

The /r/ sound is spelled with <r> or <rr>. Initially we also find <wr> in words like write and wriggle . The /w/ sound is normally spelled <w> or <wh>, and occurs in <qu> spellings contrasting with <cr> such as crack/quack . An initial /w/ occurs in the words one and once Neither sound occurs finally in RP, though we do encounter the phenomenon of intrusive /r/ in phrases like "the idea-r-of it" or "Africa-r-and Asia". Notice the homographs read and reading/Reading make pairs with weed/weeding and wed/wedding , and row with woe and wow .

The /r/ sound is normally described as a voiced frictionless continuant or liquid. It has many allophones in RP, including a voiced continuant with grooved or retroflex tongue position before vowels, a single tap resembling /d/ intervocallically, and a voiceless fricative after /t/. It is a difficult sound for children, who often substitute a /w/ for /r/, and sometimes this persists into adulthood. A well known case is the broadcaster Jonathan Ross, who is sometimes known as "Wossie" because of his problems articulating /r/, and another was the politician Roy Jenkins. Authors sometimes use <w> for <r> to show children's speech. The best known example is the lisping six-year-old Violet Elizabeth Bott who at one point tells William Brown to address her as "Pwincess" in one of Richmal Crompton's Just William books. The /w/ sound is a bilabial semivowel, usually with prominent lip-rounding. It is generally voiced, though a voiceless variant may occur in emphatic speech in words beginning <wh>. The contrast is a frequent source of confusion, not only for EFL learners.

Interesting pairs include:

crier choir
rickets wickets
risky whiskey
wrinkle winkle

Taboo word pairs include: rank/wank .

The mean density value is 2.2%. The list makes 150 semantic distinctions, a loading of 52%.

array away
crack quack
  cracked quacked
  cracking quacking
  cracks quacks
crake quake
  crakes quakes
crest quest
  crested quested
  cresting questing
  crests quests
crick quick
crier choir 
  criers choirs 
croft quaffed
crypt quipped
overate overweight
overrate overweight
  overrated overweighted
raced waist 
raced waste
rack whack
  racked whacked
  racking whacking
  racks whacks
racks wax
rag wag
  rags wags
  ragging wagging
  ragged wagged
rage wage
  raged waged
  rages wages
  raging waging
raid wade
  raided waded
  raiding wading
  raids wades
raider wader
  raiders waders
rail wail
  railed wailed
  railing wailing
  rails wails
rail whale
  rails whales
rails Wales 
rain wane 
  rained waned
  raining waning
  rains wanes
rain wain
  rains wains
raise ways
rake wake
  raked waked
  rakes wakes
  raking waking
rang whang
rank wank
  ranked wanked
  ranking wanking
  ranks wanks
rare ware 
rare wear
  raring wearing
rarer wearer
rate wait
  rated waited
  rates waits
  rating waiting
rate weight
  rated weighted
  rates weights
  rating weighting
rave waive
  raved waived
  raves waives
  raving waiving
raver waiver
  ravers waivers
rave wave
  raved waved
  raves waves
  raving waving
raver waver
  ravers wavers
ray way
  rays ways
ray weigh  
  raying weighing
  rays weighs
  rayed weighed
re we
re wee
read weed
read wed
Reading wedding
reading weeding
real wheel
rear Wear 
reared weird
rears weirs
reed weed
reedy weedy
  reedier weedier
  reediest weediest
reeled weald
reel wheel
  reels wheels
  reeling wheeling
  reeled wheeled
reeve we've
reeves weaves
reft weft
reign wane 
  reigned waned
  reigning waning
  reigns wanes
reign wain
  reigns wains
rein wane 
  reined waned
  reining waning
  reins wanes
rein wain
  reins wains
rend wend
  rending wending
  rends wends
Rennes wen
Rennes when
rent went
rest west
ret wet
  rets wets
  retted wetted
  retting wetting
rheum womb
Rhine whine
Rhine wine
Rhyl will
rich which
rich witch
  riches witches
Rick Wick
rickets wickets	
ride wide
  rides wides
rider wider
rife wife
riff whiff
  riffs whiffs
rig Whig 
  rigs Whigs 
rig wig
  rigged wigged
  rigging wigging
  rigs wigs
right white
  rights whites
righting whiting
rightist whitest
rile while
  riled whiled
  riles whiles
  riling whiling
rill will
  rills wills
rim whim
  rims whims
rind whined
rind wind
  rinds winds
ringer winger
  ringers wingers
rink wink
  rinks winks
rinse wince
  rinsed winced
  rinses winces
  rinsing wincing
ripcord whipcord
rip whip
  ripped whipped
  ripping whipping
ripe wipe
riper wiper
rise Y's 
riser wiser
risk whisk
  risked whisked
  risking whisking
  risks whisks
risky whiskey
rite white
  rites whites
rive wive
  rived wived
  rives wives
  riving wiving
road woad
roar war
  roaring warring
  roars wars
  roared warred
roared ward
rod wad
  rods wads
roe whoa
roe woe
  roes woes
rolled wold
Ron wan
roof woof
  roofs woofs
room womb
  rooms wombs
rose woes
rot watt   
  rots watts
round wound
rouse wows
rove wove
row woe
  rows woes
row wow
rowed woad
rude wooed
rue woo
  rues woos
  ruing wooing	
  rued wooed
run one 	
  runs ones
run won   
ruse woos
Ryde wide
rye why
rye Y 
scrawl squall
  scrawled squalled
  scrawling squalling
  scrawls squalls
screes squeeze
train twain
  trains twains
treat tweet
  treated tweeted
  treating tweeting
  treats tweets
tree twee
treed tweed
trice twice
trill twill
  trilled twilled
tryst twist
  trysts twists
underrate underweight
unread unwed
wrangle wangle 
  wrangled wangled 
  wrangles wangles 
  wrangling wangling 
wreak weak 
wreak week
  wreaks weeks
wrench wench 
  wrenched wenched 
  wrenches wenches 
  wrenching wenching 
wren wen
  wrens wens
wren when
wrier wire 
wriggle wiggle 
  wriggled wiggled 
  wriggles wiggles 
  wriggling wiggling 
wrinkle winkle 
  wrinkled winkled 
  wrinkles winkles 
  wrinkling winkling 
writ wit
  writs wits 
write white
writer whiter 	  
Writtle Wythall
wrought wart 
wryly wily