Vowels 3 and 10, /e/ versus /ʌ/    250 pairs      [bedbud.html]

The /e/ vowel is spelled <e>, <ea> in dead and irregularly with <ei> in Leicester. The vowel /ʌ/ is usually spelled with <u>, or sometimes <ou> as in touch.

Both vowels are short and not all that far apart in the mouth. Confusions are possible in rapid speech, though no specific group of learners have more of a problem than the rest.

Confusions involving taboo words: beggar/bugger, Kent/cunt

Interesting pairs include:

empire umpire
fennel funnel
medal muddle
pedal puddle
redder rudder

The mean density is 2.8%. The pairs make 129 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 65%.

abet abut
  abets abuts
  abetted abutted
  abetting abutting
Beccles buckles
beck buck
  becks bucks
bed bud
  bedded budded
  bedding budding
  beds buds
beg bug
  begged bugged
  begging bugging
  begs bugs
beggar bugger
  beggared buggered
  beggaring buggering
  beggars buggers
  beggary buggery
ben bun
  bens buns
bench bunch
  benches bunches
Benny bunny
Bess bus
best bused	 
best bust
  bested busted
  besting busting
  bests busts
bet but
bet butt
  bets butts
  betted butted
  betting butting
better butter
  bettered buttered
  bettering buttering
  betters butters
bled blood
blent blunt
Brent brunt
Celt cult
  Celts cults
check chuck
  checked chucked
  checking chucking
  checks chucks
cheque chuck
  cheques chucks  
Czech chuck
  Czechs chucks
checker chukker
  checkers chukkers
crest crust
  crested crusted
  cresting crusting
  crests crusts
dead dud
deadly Dudley 
deafer duffer
deb dub
  debs dubs
Dec duck
deck duck
  decked ducked
  decking ducking
  decks ducks
dell dull
  dells dulls
den done
den dun
  dens duns
dense dunce
Des does
desk dusk
dredge drudge
  dredged drudged
  dredges drudges
  dredging drudging
dregs drugs
ember umber
  embers umbers
empire umpire
  empires umpires
entrained untrained
Epping upping
fen fun
fend fund
  fended funded
  fending funding
  fends funds
fennel funnel
fez fuzz
flecks flux	   
flex flux
  flexes fluxes
fled flood
flesh flush
geld gulled
get gut
  gets guts
  getting gutting
guessed gust
guest gust
  guests gusts
held hulled
hell hull
  hells hulls
hem hum
  hemmed hummed
  hemming humming
  hems hums
hemp hump
hen Hun 
  hens Huns 
jest just
jet jut
  jets juts
  jetted jutted
  jetting jutting
kenning cunning
Kent cunt
kept cupped
Kerry curry
left luffed
leg lug
  legging lugging
  legged lugged
  legs lugs
Leicester lustre
lest lust
many money
Med mud
medal muddle
  medals muddles
meddle muddle
  meddled muddled
  meddling muddling
  meddles muddles
Meg mug
memory mummery
  memories mummeries
mess muss
  messed mussed
  messes musses
  messing mussing
met mutt
Nell null
net nut
  nets nuts
  netted nutted
peck puck
  pecks pucks
pecker pucker
  peckers puckers
peckish puckish
pedal puddle
  pedalled puddled
  pedalling puddling
  pedals puddles	 
peddle puddle  
  peddling puddling	   
  peddled puddled
  peddles puddles
peddler puddler
  peddlers puddlers
peg pug
  pegs pugs
pen pun
  penned punned
  penning punning
  pens puns
pep pup
  peps pups
pet putt
  pets putts
  petted putted
  petting putting
petty puttee   
petty putty
ready ruddy
  readier ruddier
  readiest ruddiest
redder rudder
ref rough
ref ruff
reft roughed
Rennes run
rent runt
  rents runts
rest rust
  rested rusted
  resting rusting
  rests rusts
restless rustless
Rex rucks
secs sucks
sex sucks
section suction
sender sunder
  senders sunders
sepal supple
Sept supped
settler subtler
sped spud
stead stud
steady study
  steadied studded
  steadies studies
  steadying studying
Sten stun
Steyning stunning
Tech tuck
  techs tucks
ten ton
tetchy touchy
  tetchier touchier
  tetchiest touchiest
  tetchily touchily
  tetchiness touchiness
thresh thrush
  threshes thrushes
treble trouble
  trebled troubled
  trebles troubles
  trebling troubling
trek truck
  treks trucks
tress truss
  tresses trusses
wen one
  wens ones
when one  
whence once
wherry worry
  wherries worries
wreck ruck
  wrecked rucked
  wrecking rucking 
  wrecks rucks
wren run
  wren runs
wrestle rustle 
  wrestled rustled
  wrestles rustles 
  wrestling rustling 
wrestler rustler
  wrestlers rustlers 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2011
updated Chiang Mai, 2024