Vowels 3 and 12, /e/ versus /ə/    36 pairs      [essayassay.html]

Almost all of these contrasts occur in unstressed syllables, so they are often confused even by native speakers. This applies particularly to the 11 compounds of -men v. -man words where the contrast is no more than optional. The list includes six pairs which are -ment homographs (verb v. noun).

The mean density is 0.2%. The pairs make 22 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 61%.

bowmen bowman
cattlemen cattleman 
cavalrymen cavalryman 
churchmen churchman 
coachmen coachman 
coalmen coalman 
compliment complement 
  complimented complemented 
  complimenting complementing 
  compliments complements 
document document
  documents documents
essay assay 
  essayed assayed 
  essaying assaying 
  essays assays 
hem h'm 
  hemmed h'mmed 
  hemming h'mming 
  hems h'ms 
implement implement
  implements implements
M 'em 
N 'un 
ornament ornament
  ornaments ornaments
pelisse police
  pelisses polices
railwaymen railwayman 
servicemen serviceman 
supplement supplement
  supplements supplements
villainess villainous
woodmen woodman 
woodsmen woodsman 
workmen workman 
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