The /aɪ/ diphthong is spelled <iCe>, <i>, <y> and <ey> in eye, besides occurring in the letter names I and Y. The /əʊ/ diphthong is spelled <oCe> <oa>, <ow> or <eau> in beau.
This is a contrast between two closing diphthongs with similar starting positions but different directions of movement. It is not a problem for learners.
Interesting pairs include:
The density figure is 5.31%. The set makes 187 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 54.8%.
abide abode abides abodes align alone ally aloe allies aloes arise arose belie below bestride bestrode bide bode bided boded bides bodes biding boding bight boat bights boats bile bole bind boned bine bone bines bones bison bo'sn bite boat bites boats biting boating blight bloat blighted bloated blights bloats blighting bloating blighter bloater blighters bloaters Blythe blow bronchi bronco buy beau buys beaux buy bow buying bowing buys bows buyer Boer buyers Boers by beau by bow cider soda cipher sofa ciphers sofas Clive clove condign condone crime chrome cry crow cried crowed cries crows crying crowing despise dispose despised disposed despises disposes despising disposing dice dose diced dosed dices doses dicing dosing die doe dies does dime dome dimes domes diner donor diners donors diver Dover drive drove drives droves driver drover drivers drovers eye O eyes O's eye owe eyeing owing eyed owed eyes owes fie foe file foal filed foaled files foals filing foaling find phoned fine phone fines phones fined phoned fining phoning fly floe flies floes fly flow flying flowing flies flows flight float flighted floated flighting floating flights floats fries froze fry fro gibe Job gibes Jobs glide glowed grind groaned gripe grope gripes gropes griping groping guide goad guided goaded guides goads guiding goading guile goal guy go guying going guys goes hi ho hide hoed hie hoe hieing hoeing hies hoes hies hoes high hoe highs hoes highboy hautboy highboys hautboys highly holy hikes hoax hind honed hive Hove I O I's O's I owe I'd owed I'd ode I'm ohm iced oast Iver over ivory ovary jive Jove kind coned kine Colne kite coat kites coats knight note knighted noted knighting noting knights notes liar lower liars lowers lie lo lie low lies lows lying lowing life loaf lives loaves lifer loafer lifers loafers lime loam limey loamy line loan lined loaned lines loans lining loaning might moat might mote mike moke mikes mokes mild Mold milder moulder mile mole miles moles miler molar milers molars mind moaned mine moan mines moans mining moaning mined moaned mire mower mires mowers mite moat mites moats mite mote mites motes mitre motor mitres motors my Mo nigh know nigh no night note nights notes nine known outride outrode overfly overflow overflies overflows overflying overflowing override overrode oversize oversews pies pose pike poke pikes pokes pile pole piled polled piles poles piling poling pile poll piled polled piling polling piles polls pine pone pines pones pipe Pope pipes Popes pry pro pries pros pries prose prize pros prize prose quite quote radii radio rewrite rewrote Rhine roan rhyme Rome rhyme roam rhymed roamed rhymes roams rhyming roaming ride road rides roads rile rôle riles rôles rile roll riled rolled riles rolls riling rolling ripe rope rise rose rises roses rive rove rived roved rives roves riving roving rye roe shy show shied showed shies shows shying showing shine shown shrive shrove side sowed sigh so sigh sew sighing sewing sighs sews sighed sewed sigh sow sighs sows sighing sowing sighed sowed sign sown silo solo silos solos sine sown slide slowed sly sloe sly slow slyer slower slyest slowest slyly slowly slyness slowness smite smote snide snowed spied Spode spike spoke spikes spokes stile stole stiles stoles stride strode strike stroke strikes strokes striking stroking strive strove sty stow sties stows test-drive test-drove Thai toe Thais toes Thai tow Thais tows thrive throve thy tho' thyme tome tided toadied tidy toady tidied toadied tidies toadies tidying toadying tie toe ties toes tying toeing tie two ties tows tying towing tiger toga tigers togas tight tote tights totes tike toque tikes toques tile toll tiled tolled tiles tolls tiling tolling tiled told time tome times tomes tine tone tined toned tines tones tiny Tony title total titled totalled titles totals titling totalling tripe trope Tyne tone type tope typed toped types topes typing toping underwrite underwrote vile vole whiled wold why woe wide woad wild wold wive wove wrier rower write rote writer rota writers rotas writer rotor writers rotors Y whoa Y woe Y's woes
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009