Minimal Pair List Vowels 1 and 3, /i/ versus /e/ 331 pairs
This list includes a number of homographs , the adjective and adverb pair cleanly , the verb and noun pair lead , and the present and past of the verb read with its derivatives lip-read , misread , proof-read and re-read There are several other cases of the /i/ versus /e/ distinction being used to signal present versus past of a verb, namely bleed/bled , breed/bred , feed/fed , feel/fell , plead/pled , and speed/sped , but in those cases we also see a change in the spelling. The strong verb eat/ate could also be included in this set, but this case is complicated by the existence of an alternative spelling-pronunciation for ate as / eɪt /. In the case of leaped/leapt we have differences of sound and spelling but not of meaning. Are they a minimal pair?
The /i/ vowel is commonly spelled with <ee>, <ea>, <ie> as in
, <eCe> as in
The fact that /i/ is normally long and /e/ short helps to reduce the difficulty of distinguishing this pair, though it may still cause trouble especially for speakers of syllable-timed languages. Speakers of Arabic and some languages of the Indian sub-continent may have problems. All speakers, however, may have problems with unfamiliar words simply because of the overlap in the spellings. A word like sweater is very likely to be pronounced /`switә/ at the first encounter.The pairs that seem most interesting include:
- acetic ascetic
- beacon beckon
- ceiling selling
- heedless headless
- meeker Mecca
- Peking pecking
- weeding wedding
- yield yelled
There is a slight potential for embarrassment with the pair seeks/sex .
The mean density is 3.9%. The semantic loading is 64%.
acetic ascetic beacon beckon beacons beckons bead bed beading bedding beads beds beak beck beaks becks bean ben beans bens beast best beasts bests beat bet beater better beaters betters beating betting beats bets beater bettor beaters bettors been ben beet bet beets bets beta better betas betters beta bettor betas bettors bleed bled breastfeed breastfed breed bread breed bred cede said ceiling selling cheek check cheeked checked cheeking checking cheeks checks cheek cheque cheeks cheques cheek Czech cheeks Czechs cleanly cleanly cleans cleanse cleaver clever crease cress creased crest crossbreed crossbred C's says deal dell deals dells dean den deans dens deceiver dissever deceivers dissevers deed dead deep dep D's Des each etch Easter Esther eat ate eel L eels L's e'en N ekes X eland Elland Ely Ellie Eva ever feed fed feel fell feeler feller feeling felling feels fells feeler fellah fees fez f(o)etal fettle field felled fiend fend fiends fends force-feed force-fed freed Fred geese guess gene gen genes gens genie Jenny genies jennies glean glen gleans glens heal hell healed held heals hells Heanor henna heap hep heed head heeded headed heeding heading heeds heads heedless headless heel hell heels hells heeled held interbreed interbred jean gen jeans gens Jeanie Jenny keen ken keened kenned keening kenning keens kens knead Ned kneel knell kneel Nell lead lead leading leading leads leads lead led leafed left league leg leagues legs leaguing legging lean Len leaned lend leans lens leaped leapt leas Les lease less leased lest least lest Leeds leads lees Les lied let liege ledge lieges ledges lip-read lip-read Lisa lesser litre letter litres letters mead Med mean men meanie many meat Met meats Metz meed Med meeker Mecca meet met meets Metz mete met metes Metz mien men mislead misled misread misread neat net neat nett neatly Netley need Ned needy Neddy Neil knell Neil Nell Nice ness niece ness nieces nesses overfeed overfed overleaped overleapt peak peck peaked pecked peaking pecking peaks pecks peat pet peaty petty peatier pettier peatiest pettiest Peebles pebbles peek peck peeked pecked peeking pecking peeks pecks peep pep peeped pepped peeping pepping peeps peps peeper pepper peepers peppers peke peck pekes pecks Peking pecking Pete pet pieced pest pique peck piqued pecked piques pecks piquing pecking plead pled priest pressed proofread proofread reach retch reached retched reaches retches reaching retching reach wretch reaches wretches read read read red reader redder reads reds reading Reading reap rep reaps reps reed read reed red reeds reds reedy ready reedier readier reediest readiest reef ref reefed reft reek wreck reeked wrecked reeking wrecking reeks wrecks reeks Rex reeve rev reeves revs repeal repel repealed repelled repealing repelling repeals repels re-present represent re-presented represented re-presenting representing re-presents represents re-read re-read reseat reset reseating resetting reseats resets Riesling wrestling scenes sends seal cell seals cells seal sell sealing selling seals sells sealer seller sealers sellers sealer cellar sealers cellars seas says seat set seating setting seats sets seat sett seats setts seed said seek sec seek sec seeks secs seeks sex seeped Sept sees says seize says sheaf chef shield shelled siege sedge sieges sedges signor señor Sikh sec Sikhs secs Sikhs sex speak spec speaks specs speak speck speaks specks speed sped spoonfeed spoonfed steam stem steamed stemmed steaming stemming steams stems steed stead steely stele steep step steeped stepped steeping stepping steeps steps steep steppe steeps steppes suite sweat suites sweats sweet sweat sweets sweats sweeter sweater sweetie sweaty teak tec teak Tech teal tel teal tell teed Ted teen ten teens tens Tina tenner Tina tenor treed tread underseal undersell weal well weals wells weald weld wealds welds weald welled wean wen weans wens wean when weaned wend weed wed weeded wedded weeding wedding weeds weds wheat wet wheat whet wheel well wheeled welled wheeling welling wheels wells wheeled weld wheeling welling wield weld wielded welded wielding welding wields welds wield welled wreak wreck wreaked wrecked wreaking wrecking wreaks wrecks wreaks Rex yield yelled