Consonants /z/ versus /n/, 396 pairs     [liesline.html]

The /z/ sound is spelled with <z>, <s> or <se>. The /n/ sound is spelled with <n>, <nn>, or <gn> in sign. Many of the pairs arise from contrasting a word ending in -n with a plural or 3rd-person -s. Several contrast a 3rd-person -s with a past participle, such as blows/blown. In some cases there is a contrast between a /z/ and a syllabic /n/ such as forbids/forbidden, in which case the status of the pair is doubtful because of the different syllable count.

This is a contrast between a sibilant fricative and a nasal continuant, both in the alveolar region and both voiced. It is not a problem.

Interesting pairs include:

brazier brainier
camellias chameleon
cinemas cinnamon
guzzle gunwale
musician munition
scissors sinners
villas villain

The mean density value is 1.7%. The list makes 331 semantic distinctions, a loading of 84%.

adores adorn
alkalis alkaline 
allies align 
altars Alton 
amaze amain 
annas Annan 
areas Aryan 
aroused around 
arrays arraign 
as Ann 
assize assign 
asters Aston 
augers organ
ayahs ion
baas barn
baize bane
bakers bacon 
bares bairn 
batters baton 
beakers beacon 
beaux bone
bees bean
bees been
beholders beholden 
bestrews bestrewn 
bitters bittern 
biz bin 
blows blown 
boars born
boars borne
boars bourne 
bobbies bobbin
boors bourn
boos boon 
booze boon
Borders Bordon
bores born
bores borne
bores bourne
bounders bounden 
bows bone
braes brain
braise brain
  braised brained 
  braising braining 
brazier brainier 
briars Brian 
brokers broken 
brows brown 
browse brown
  browsed browned 
  browsing browning 
browses brownies 
B's bean
B's been
burghers Bergen 
burrs Bern 
buys bine 
buzz bun 
buzzes bunnies 
cabbies cabin
camellias chameleon
cannas cannon
capers capon
careers Korean 
cares cairn 
carriers carrion
cars Calne 
cause corn
  caused corned
  causing corning
cinemas cinnamon
ciphers siphon
close clone 
  closing cloning
  closed cloned
coffees coffin
colas colon
commas common
complaisant complainant 
coos coon 
cosies coneys 
cosy coney 
craze crane 
  crazed craned 
crews croon
crows crone 
cruise croon
  cruised crooned 
  cruising crooning 
cruiser crooner 
  cruisers crooners 
crystallize crystalline 
C's scene
C's seen
cuisine quinine
curls Koln 
dampers dampen 
daws dawn 
days Dane 
days deign
daze Dane
daze deign
  dazed deigned
  dazing deigning
defies define
Des den
devise divine
  devised divined
  devising divining
dhows down 
dies dine
divisor diviner 
  divisors diviners 
does done
doors dawn
dowse down
  dowsing downing 
  dowsed downed
drawers drawn
drays drain 
drowse drown 
  drowsed drowned 
  drowsing drowning 
D's Dean
dues dune
Easters eastern
ease e'en
enjoys enjoin 
errs earn 	   
errs urn
E's e'en
fez fen 
firs fern 
floes flown
flows flown
foes phone
forbids forbidden 
foreknows foreknown 
foresees foreseen 
forgives forgiven 
fours faun 
fuzz fun 
fuzzy funny 
  fuzzier funnier 
  fuzziest funniest 
gammas gammon 
gays gain 
gaze gain
  gazed gained 
  gazing gaining 
gives given 
glees glean 
gnus noon
grays grain 
graze grain
  grazed grained 
  grazing graining
grows groan 
G's Gene
guzzle gunwale 
  guzzles gunwales 
haws horn
hers Herne 
hews hewn 
hitches Hitchin 
hoes hone
hose hone
  hosed honed 
  hosing honing 
housed hound 
humours human 
inters intern 
is in 
jays Jane
jazz Jan 
jersey journey
  jerseys journeys
Jews June
joys join 
J's Jane
keys keen 
kills kiln 
knows known 
K's Caen 
laws lawn 
lays lain 
lays lane
laze lain
laze lane
leas lean 
leers lien
lees lean
Les Len 
liars lion
lies line
Liz Lynn
loos loon 
lose loon
loser lunar
loses loonies 
lows loan 
maize Maine
maize main
maws morn
maws mourn
Mays Maine 
Mays main
measly meanly 
miser miner 
  misers miners 
misgives misgiven 
moos moon 
Mounties mountain
mows moan 
murmurs merman 
music Munich 
musician munition 
  musicians munitions 
muzzy money 
northeasters northeastern 
northwesters northwestern 
noes known
nose known
O's own
outdoes outdone
outgrows outgrown 
overdoes overdone
overdraws overdrawn 
overflows overflown 
overseas overseen
oversews oversewn 
overthrows overthrown 
owes own
oz on 
pause pawn
  paused pawned
  pausing pawning
pays pain 
phase fain 
phase feign
  phased feigned 
  phasing feigning 
physical finical 
pies pine
plays plain 
pointers Poynton 
pose pone 
poses ponies 
posy pony 
  posies ponies
pros prone 
prose prone
quiz quin 
raise rain 
  raised rained 
  raising raining 
raise rein 
  raised reined 
  raising reining 
raise reign 
  raised reigned 
  raising reigning 
rays rain
rays rein
rays reign
redoes redone
res Rennes 
res wren
reservation renovation 
  reservations renovations 
resound renowned 
rise Rhine 
rose roan
rose Rhone
roused round 
rowers rowan 
rues rune
ruse rune
satyrs Saturn 
saws sawn 
scissors sinners
scores scorn
screes screen 
seas scene
seas seen
sees scene
sees seen
seize scene
seize seen
sews sewn 
shakers shaken 
sharpers sharpen 
shies shine
shores shorn
shows shown 
sighs sign
silvers silvan 
size sign
  sized signed 
  sizing signing 
slackers slacken 
slays slain 
sleighs slain
sous soon 
southeasters southeastern 
southwesters southwestern 
sows sown 
spays Spain 
spies spine 
spores spawn 
sprays sprain 
spurs spurn 
stays stain 
stirs stern 
stows stone 
strays strain 
strews strewn 
summers summon
sways swain 
takers taken 
tars tarn 
tenders tendon
tenners tenon
Thais Tyne
Thais tine
throes throne
ties Tyne
ties tine
tizzy tinny 
toes tone
tors torn 
tows tone
trays train 
trews Troon 
tutors Teuton 
underlies underline
undersized undersigned 
undertows undertone 
undoes undone
Utopias Utopian 
verges virgin
victorias Victorian 
vies vine
villas villain 
wars warn 
was wan 
ways Wayne 
wees wean 
weighs Wayne
wheeze wean
  wheezed weaned 
  wheezing weaning 
wheezy weeny 
  wheezier weenier 
  wheeziest weeniest 
whiz whin 
whiz win
  whizzing winning
whizzed wind
whizzes whinnies 
whores horn	 
whys whine
whys wine
wise whine
wise wine
  wising wining
  wised wined
wiser whiner 
withdraws withdrawn 
wreckers reckon 
yaws yawn 
years yearn 
Y's whine
Y's wine
Z Ned 
zap knap 
  zapped knapped 
  zapping knapping 
  zaps knaps 	
zap nap
  zapped napped 
  zapping napping 
  zaps naps 	
zee knee 
  zees knees 
zest nest 
zip nip 
  zipped nipped 
  zipping nipping 
  zips nips 
zipper nipper 
  zippers nippers 
zone known
zoo gnu 
  zoos gnus

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2010
updated Chiang Mai, 2024