The /e/ vowel is spelled <e>, <ea> in bread and occcurs in the letter names L, M, S and X. The diphthong /eɪ/ is usually spelled with <aCe>, <ai>, <ay>, sometimes <ei> as in eight or <ey> in obeyed, and it occurs in the letter name H. The word ate can be pronounced /et/ or /eɪt/. Notice that the word leading pronounced /ledɪŋ/ is a member of a homograph. With this pronunciation it means space between print characters or lead on a roof. Similarly read pronounced /red/ is the past tense homograph.Although this is a contrast bewteen a short vowel and a diphthong, it is a known problem for many foreign learners including speakers of French, German, Italian, Arabic, Swahili, and Indian languages.
Interesting pairs include:
The mean density is 2.7%. The pairs make 169 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 60%.
abed obeyed abet abate abets abates abetted abated abetting abating ate eight attend attained beck bake becks bakes beckon bacon bed bayed bell bail belled bailed belling bailing bells bails belle bail belles bails belly bailey bellies baileys Ben bane Bess base best based best baste bested basted besting basting bests bastes bet bait bets baits betted baited betting baiting bled blade bread braid Bren brain Brens brains breast braced Brest braced cell sail cells sails cell sale cells sales cellar sailor cellars sailors cent saint cents saints chess chase chest chased chest chaste Clem claim Clement claimant contend contained Cres craze Delhi daily dell dale dells dales den Dane dens Danes Des days Des daze ebb Abe Ed aid eddied aided edge age edged aged edges ages edging ageing Epping aping etch H etches H's Fed fade fell fail felled failed felling failing fells fails fem fame fen fain fenm feign fens feigns fend feigned fetid fated fettle fatal fez phase fezzes phases fleck flake flecked flaked flecking flaking flecks flakes fled flayed Fred frayed fret freight frets freights fretted freighted fretting freighting gel gaol gelled gaoled gelling gaoling gels gaols gems James gen Jane get gait gets gaits get gate getting gating gets gates heaven haven heavens havens heck hake held hailed hell hail hells hails impel impale impelled impaled impelling impaling impels impales Jenny Janie ken vane kenned caned kenning caning kens canes Kettering catering L ail leaden laden leading lading lemming laming lemon layman Len lain lens lanes Les lays less lace lest laced let late letter later L's ails M aim Med made men Maine men main men mane Met mate Metz mates misled mislaid M's aims Ned neighed Nell nail nettle natal Neville naval pen pain penned pained penning paining pens pains pepper paper peppered papered peppering papering peppers papers pest paced pest paste pests pastes pet pate pets pates phlegm flame pled played Pres praise quell quail quelled quailed quelling quailing quells quails res raise read raid Reading raiding red raid reds raids redder raider Reg rage rend rained Rennes rain rep rape reps rapes rest raced ret rate rev rave revs raves revved raved revving raving Rex rakes S ace scent saint scented sainted scents saints sec sake secs sakes sedge sage sedges sages sell sail selling sailing sells sails sell sale sells sailes send seined sends seines sent saint set sate sets sates setting sating sever saver severs savers sever savour severed savoured severing savouring severs savours sex sakes shed shade shedding shading sheds shades shell shale sled slayed sled sleighed spec spake special spatial specially spatially sped spade spread sprayed S's aces stead staid stellar staler Sten stain stet state Steyning staining tech take techs takes tel tail tell tail telling tailing tells tails teller tailor tellers tailors tent taint test taste tested tasted testing tasting tests tastes testy tasty testier tastier testiest tastiest testily tastily tread trade treading trading treads trades trend trained tress trace tresses traces vend veined wed wade wedded waded wedding wading weds wades wedge wage wedged waged wedges wages wedging waging weld wailed well wail welling wailing welled wailed wells wails wells Wales wen Wayne wend waned wens wains west waist wet wait wets waits wetted waited wetting waiting wetter waiter wreck rake wrecked raked wrecking raking wrecks rakes wren rain wrens rains X aches yet YateGeographical: Outside English-speaking countries, most visitors are from Hong Kong, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Norway, Colombia, Chine, Indonesia and Argentina. Average 21 visitors per month.
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2011