Consonants /d/ versus /ʃ/, 257 pairs     [deafchef.html]

The /d/ sound may be spelled with <d>, <de> or <dd>. The /ʃ/ sound is usually spelled <sh> but is also <sch> and <che>, as well as appearing in nouns and adjectives formed by adding -tion and -tial endings and in the word ratio. Notice how the homograph do makes pairs with with show and shoe.

The contrast is between a voiced stop and a voiceless fricative, in the same region of the mouth. It is not a problem for learners.

The contrast distinguishes two varieties of cheese, Cheddar and Cheshire. Other interesting pairs include:

branded brandish
daughter shorter
dowry showery
fetid fetish
midden mission
purdah Persia
radio ratio

The mean density value is 2%. The list makes 144 semantic distinctions, a loading of 56%.

ad ash
add ash
adore ashore
bad bash
bawd borsch
blood blush
  blooding blushing
board borsch
brad brash
branded brandish
bruited brutish
cad cache 
cad cash
caddies caches 
caddies cashes
Cheddar Cheshire
clad clash
clod cloche 
cod cosh
  codding coshing
cordon caution 
  cordoned cautioned 
  cordoning cautioning 
  cordons cautions 
D she
  D's she's
dad dash
daddies dashes
daft shaft
daisies chaises 
dale shale
dam sham 
  dams shams
  damming shamming
  dammed shammed
damn sham
  dammed shammed
  damming shamming
  damns shams
dame shame
  dames shames
dandy shandy
  dandies shandies
dank shank
dare share
  dared shared
  dares shares
  daring sharing
dark shark
days chaise 
daze chaise
deaf chef 
daughter shorter
Dave shave
dawn Sean
dawn shorn
daw shore
  daws shores
dead shed
dear shear
  dears shears
dear sheer
  dearer sheerer
  dearest sheerest
deer shear
deer sheer
dell shell
  dells shells
delta shelter
  deltas shelters
delve shelve
  delved shelved
  delves shelves
  delving shelving
Di shy
did dish
die shy
  died shied
  dies shies
  dying shying
dimmer shimmer
din shin
  dinned shinned
  dinning shinning
  dins shins
dine shine
  dines shines
  dining shining
dingle shingle
  dingles shingles
dip ship
  dipped shipped
  dipping shipping
  dips ships
dipper shipper
  dippers shippers
dire shire
dire shyer
dirk shirk
  dirks shirks
dirt shirt
dirty shirty
  dirtier shirtier
  dirtiest shirtiest
do show
do shoe
  do's shoes
  doing shoeing
doe show
  does shows
dock shock
  docked shocked
  docking shocking
  docks shocks
docker shocker
  dockers shockers
dole shoal
  doled shoaled
  doles shoals
  doling shoaling
don shone
done shun
door shore
  doors shores
dot shot
  dots shots
doubt shout
  doubted shouted
  doubting shouting
  doubts shouts
doughy showy
  doughier showier
  doughiest showiest
dour sure
  dourly surely
dove shove
  doves shoves
dower shower
  dowered showered
  dowering showering
  dowers showers
dowry showery
drank shrank
dread shred
  dreaded shredded
  dreading shredding
  dreads shreds
drew shrew
drift shrift
drill shrill
  drilled shrilled
  drilling shrilling
  drills shrills
drink shrink
  drinking shrinking
  drinks shrinks
  drunk shrunk
drive shrive
  driven shriven
  drives shrives
  driving shriving
  drove shrove
drivel shrivel
  drivelled shrivelled
  drivelling shrivelling
  drivels shrivels
drub shrub
  drubs shrubs
drug shrug
  drugged shrugged
  drugging shrugging
  drugs shrugs
duck shuck
  ducked shucked
  ducking shucking
  ducks shucks
duffel shuffle
dun shun
  dunned shunned
  dunning shunning
  duns shuns
dye shy
  dyeing shying	
  dyes shies
dyer shyer	
dyer shire
  dyers shires
fatted fattish
fetid fetish
fled flesh
flood flush
  flooding flushing
flurried flourish 
Fred fresh
gad gash
  gadding gashing
goad gauche 
God gosh
had hash
hard harsh
  harder harsher
  hardest harshest
  hardly harshly
  hardness harshness
lad lash
laddies lashes
languid languish
lead leash
liveried liverish
mad mash
madder masher
marred marsh
Med mesh
midden mission
  middens missions
monkeyed monkish
mud mush
muddy mushy
  muddier mushier
  muddiest mushiest
nod nosh
  nodding noshing
parried parish 
purdah Persia 
petted pettish
plaid plash
pod posh
  podding poshing
pud push
pudding pushing
quad quash
radio ratio
  radios ratios
rounded roundish
ruddy rushy
  ruddier rushier
  ruddiest rushiest
sad sash
sender censure 
  senders censures 
shorted shortish
should shush
squad squash
thread thresh
  threading threshing
toddies toshes
trad trash
udder usher
  udders ushers
wad wash
  wadding washing
wadi washy
wadis washes
weld welsh
welder welsher
  welders welshers
  welding welshing

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, February 2010.