Vowels 2 and 10, /ɪ/ and /ʌ/   492 pairs     [dimdumb.html]

The commonest spellings of /ɪ/ is <i>, but we also find <y> in tryst and <e> in unstressed prefixes, eg entitled. Spellings of /ʌ/ are most often <u> but we also find <ou> in double, and <o> in monk.

Both sounds are short and fairly central in the mouth, but there is enough difference of tongue angle to reduce the likelihood of confusion. This is not a recognised problem area for any specific group of EFL learners.

There are several cases in this list of strong verb tense contrasts, namely cling/clung, dig/dug, drink/drunk, fling/flung, sing/sung, sink/sunk, shrink/shrunk, sling/slung, spin/spun, spring/sprung, stick/stuck, stink/stunk, string/strung, swim/swum, swing/swung and win/won. There are also a number of words contrasting the prefixes in- or en- with un-, as in enfolded/unfolded. In some cases, such as indefinable/undefinable, there is very little difference of meaning.

Pairs involving taboo words include bigger/bugger, fix/fucks, piss/pus and shit/shut.

Interesting pairs include:

cinder sunder
enlisted unlisted
Italy utterly

The mean density is 2.2%. The list makes 241 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 48.9%.

begin begun
Bicester buster
bid bud
  bidding budding
biff buff
  biffed buffed
  biffing buffing
  biffs buffs
big bug
  bigger bugger
bilk bulk
  bilked bulked
  bilking bulking
  bilks bulks
bin bun			 
  bins buns
bit but
  bits butts
bitten button
bitter butter
  bitters butters
biz buzz
blister bluster
  blistered blustered
  blistering blustering
  blisters blusters
bristles Brussels
busy buzzy
  busier buzzier
  busies buzzes
chick chuck
  chicks chucks
chicle chuckle
chimp chump
  chimps chumps
chink chunk
  chinks chunks
cinder sunder
  cinders sunders
cissies susses
click cluck
  clicked clucked
  clicking clucking
  clicks clucks
cling clung
clink clunk
  clinked clunked
  clinking clunking
  clinks clunks
killer colour
  killers colours
constrict construct
  constricted constructed
  constricting constructing
  constriction construction
  constrictions constructions
  constricts constructs
countersink countersunk
cricks crux
dibble double
  dibbled doubled
  dibbles doubles
  dibbling doubling
Dick duck
dickey ducky
  dickeys duckies	   
Dicky ducky
did dud
differ duffer
  differs duffers	  
dig dug
  digs dugs
dill dull
dim dumb
  dimly dumbly
  dimmer dumber
  dimmest dumbest
  dimness dumbness
dimpling dumpling
din done
din dun
  dinned dunned
  dinning dunning
  dins duns
disc dusk
ditches duchies
dig Doug
dig dug
drink drunk
  drinker drunker
  drinks drunks
ditch Dutch
enchain unchain
  enchained unchained
  enchaining unchaining
  enchains unchains
enfold unfold
  enfolded unfolded
  enfolding unfolding
  enfolds unfolds
enlisted unlisted
enrol unroll
  enroled unrolled
  enroling unrolling
  enrolls unrolls
ensure unsure
entitled untitled
entreated untreated
enwrap unwrap
  enwrapped unwrapped
  enwrapping unwrapping
  enwraps unwraps
fiddle fuddle
  fiddled fuddled
  fiddles fuddles
  fiddling fuddling
fig fug
  figs fugs
fin fun
Finn fun
fist fussed
fit phut
fix fucks
fizz fuzz
fizzy fuzzy
  fizzier fuzzier
  fizziest fuzziest
flicks flux
fling flung
gild gulled		
guild gulled
gill gull  
  gills gulls
gillie gully
  gillies gullies
gimbals jumbles
gist just
glimmer glummer
Guinea gunny
hamstring hamstrung
hill hull
  hills hulls
him hum
hint hunt
  hinted hunted
  hinting hunting
  hints hunts
hit hut
  hits huts
hitch hutch
  hitches hutches  
hymned hummed 
  hymning humming 
  hymns hums
inborn unborn
incited unsighted
indefinable undefinable
Indies undies
indistinguishable undistinguishable
ineffective uneffective
informed unformed
intended untended
interned unturned
is us
Italy utterly
jig jug
  jigged jugged
  jigging jugging
  jigs jugs
jiggle juggle
  jiggled juggled
  jiggles juggles
  jiggling juggling
jingle jungle
  jingles jungles
jinks junks
kid cud
kill cull
  killed culled
  killing culling 
  kills culls
kilt cult
  kilts cults 
kip cup
  kipped cupped
  kipping cupping
  kips cups
kipper cupper
  kippers cuppas
kiss cuss
  kisses cusses
kit cut
  kits cuts
  kitting cutting 
knit nut
  knitted nutted
  knits nuts
nickel knuckle
  nickelled knuckled
  nickels knuckles
lick luck
licks luxe
lift luffed
limber lumbar	
limber lumber
  limbered lumbered
  limbering lumbering
  limbers lumbers
limp lump
  limped lumped
  limping lumping
  limps lumps
ling lung
  lings lungs
list lust
  listed lusted
  listing lusting
  lists lusts
livable lovable
live love
  lived loved
  lives loves
  living loving
liver lover
  livers lovers
linden London
lynch lunch 
  lynched lunched
  lynches lunches
  lynching lunching
Mick muck
Mickey mucky
mickle muckle
mid mud
middle muddle
  middles muddles
  middling muddling
middy muddy
  middies muddies
milch mulch
milked mulct
mill mull
  milled mulled
  mills mulls
miller mullah
  millers mullahs
millet mullet
million mullion
  millions mullions
mink monk
  minks monks
misc musk
misgiven misgovern
missal muscle
  missals muscles
miss muss
  missed mussed
  misses musses
  missing mussing
mist must
  mists musts
misty musty
  mistier mustier
  mistiest mustiest
  mistiness mustiness
mitt mutt
mitten mutton
mix mucks
mizzle muzzle
  mizzled muzzled
  mizzles muzzles
Mr muster
minster Munster
nib nub
  nibs nubs
nil null
nit nut
  nits nuts
peak puck
  peaks pucks
pick puck
  picks pucks
picker pucker
  pickers puckers
piddle puddle
  piddled puddled
  piddles puddles
  piddling puddling
pig pug
  pigs pugs
pimp pump
  pimped pumped
  pimping pumping
  pimps pumps
pinch punch
  pinched punched
  pinching punching
  pinches punches
pink punk
  pinks punks
pin pun
  pinned punned
  pinning punning
  pins puns
pip pup
  pips pups
piss pus
pit putt
  pits putts
  pitting putting
pitied putted
pity puttee	 
  pities puttees
pity putty
  pitying puttying
  pitied puttied
pyx pucks
rib rub
  ribbed rubbed
  ribbing rubbing
  ribs rubs
rick ruck
  ricked rucked
  ricking rucking
  ricks rucks
riddle ruddle
  riddled ruddled
  riddles ruddles
  riddling ruddling
riff rough
riffle ruffle
  riffled ruffled
  riffles ruffles
  riffling ruffling
  riffs roughs
rift roughed
rig rug
  rigs rugs
rigger rugger
rim rum
ring rung
  rings rungs
risk rusk
  risks rusks
scrimmage scrummage
  scrimmages scrummages
skid scud
  skidded scudded
  skidding scudding 
  skids scuds
skiff scuff 
  skiffs scuffs 
skiffle scuffle 
skill scull
  skilled sculled
  skills sculls 
skim scum
skipper scupper 
  skippered scuppered 
  skippering scuppering
  skippers scuppers
skit scut
  skits scuts
skittle scuttle 
  skittled scuttled 
  skittles scuttles 
  skittling scuttling 
shin shun  
  shinned shunned
  shinning shunning
  shins shuns
shit shut
  shits shuts
  shitting shutting
shrink shrunk
sic suck	 
sick suck
  sicked sucked
  sicking sucking
  sicks sucks  
sicker sucker		
sicker succour
sickle suckle
  sickles suckles
sift soughed
silk sulk
  silkier sulkier
  silkiest sulkiest
  silkily sulkily
  silkiness sulkiness
  silks sulks
  silky sulky
silly sully
  sillies sullies
simmer summer
  simmered summered
  simmering summering
  simmers summers		
sin son
  sins sons
sin sun 
  sinned sunned
  sinning sunning
  sinless sunless
  sins suns
sing sung
sink sunk
sip sup
  sipped supped
  sipping supping
  sips sups
slim slum
  slimmed slummed
  slimming slumming
  slims slums
sling slung
slink slunk
slit slut
  slits sluts
sniff snuff
  sniffed snuffed
  sniffing snuffing
  sniffs snuffs
sniffle snuffle
  sniffled snuffled
  sniffles snuffles
  sniffling snuffling
snigger snugger
spin spun
spring sprung
stick stuck
stiff stuff
  stiffs stuffs
stink stunk
stint stunt
  stinted stunted
  stinting stunting
  stints stunts
stricture structure
  strictures structures
string strung
swim swum
swing swung
this thus
tic tuck	 
tick tuck
  ticked tucked
  ticking tucking
  ticks tucks
ticker tucker
  tickers tuckers
tiff tough
  tiffs toughs
timbrel tumbrel
  timbrels tumbrels
Timmy tummy		  
tin ton
  tins tons
  tinning tonning
tin tun	   
  tins tuns
tinny tunny
tip tup
  tips tups
tit tut
trick truck
  tricks trucks
trickle truckle
  trickled truckled
  trickles truckles
  trickling truckling
tryst trussed
tryst trust
  trysts trusts
win one
  wins ones	
win won
whin one   
  whins ones
whin won
wince once		
wring rung   
  wrings rungs
wrick ruck
  wricked rucked
  wricking rucking
  wricks rucks
wrist rust
  wrists rusts
writ rut
  writs ruts

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, October 2009
updated Chiang Mai, 2024