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:
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.