Several pairs arise by contrasting an -es or -ies plural with an -ise or -ize verb derivation, as in colonies/colonize. This list includes the homographs live and wind. The homograph gill turns up in two pairs, gill/guile and gills/Giles. The pair Carolyn/Caroline is of doubtful status since the pronunciation /`kærəlɪn/ could be used with either spelling. The pair skillet/skylight is not strictly minimal since the contrast is made twice, but I have left it in.
Most learners will not find this distinction a problem, though mishearings can occur even among native speakers where it occurs in unstressed syllables, as in the apologies/apologize pattern. There may also be spelling-induced errors in words like privet and twilight.
The only pair involving taboo words is tits/tights. Interesting pairs include:
The mean density is 1.3%. The list makes 167 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 56%.
Ali ally alley ally alleys allies apologies apologize apostrophes apostrophize backbit backbite backslid backslide bestrid bestride bid bide bidding biding bids bides bill bile bin bine bins bines bit bight bits bites biz buys blitz blights Brit bright Britain Brighton Briton Brighton Briton brighten Britons brightens Carolyn Caroline categories categorize chid chide chilled child chin chine chins chines colonies colonize deputies deputize Dick dike did died dim dime dims dimes din dine dinned dined dinner diner dinners diners dinning dining dins dines economies economize epitomes epitomize eulogies eulogize factories factorize faucet foresight fibber fibre fibbers fibres fill file filled filed filling filing fillings filings fills files Finn fine Finns fines fin fine fins fines fit fight fits fights fitter fighter fitters fighters fitting fighting flit flight flits flights flitted flighted flitting flighting floodlit floodlight frizz fries gill guile gills Giles grim grime grinned grind grip gripe grips gripes harmonies harmonize hick hike hicks hikes hid hide hilly highly hippo hypo his hies hit height hits heights hypocritical hypercritical id I'd ill I'll ill aisle ills aisles is I's jib gibe jibbed gibed jibbing gibing jibs gibes kin kine kit kite kits kites knit knight knits knights knitted knighted knitting knighting knitter nitre lamplit lamplight lick like licked liked licking liking licks likes lid lied limb lime limbed limed limbs limes limn lime limning liming limned limed limns limes lit light litter lighter littered lightered littering lightering litters lighters live live lives lives Liz lies Lynn line memories memorize Mick Mike mickle Michael mill mile mills miles milled mild miller miler millers milers millstone milestone millstones milestones mints Mainz miss mice mitt might mitt mite mitts mites mix mikes monopolies monopolize moonlit moonlight niff knife niffs knifes nit knight nits knights philosophies philosophize pick pike picks pikes pill pile pills piles pin pine pinning pining pins pines pip pipe pipped piped pips pipes prim prime primmed primed primmer primer primming priming prims primes privet private quit quite rhapsodies rhapsodize rick Reich ricks Reichs rid ride ridding riding riff rife riffle rifle riffling rifling riffles rifles rill rile rills riles rim rhyme rimmed rhymed rimming rhyming rims rhymes rip ripe Ripley ripely scrutinies scrutinize shin shine shinning shining shins shines sickle cycle sickles cycles sin sign sinned signed sinning signing sins signs sit cite sitting citing sits cites sit sight sitting sighting sittings sightings sits sights skid skied skillet skylight skillets skylights slid slide slim slime slit sleight slits sleights slit slight slits slights slitting slighting snip snipe snipped sniped snipping sniping snips snipes soliloquies soliloquize spick spike spin spine spins spines spinney spiny spit spite spits spites spitting spiting sprit sprite sprits sprites starlit starlight still stile still style stilled styled stilling styling stills stiles stillest stylist strip stripe stripped striped strips stripes summaries summarize sunlit sunlight sympathies sympathize theories theorize tic tike tick tike ticks tikes till tile tilled tiled tilling tiling tills tiles Tim thyme tinny tiny tinnier tinier tinniest tiniest tip type tipped typed tipping typing tips types tit tight tits tights titter tighter tittle title trip tripe tryst triced twilit twilight twin twine twinned twined twinning twining twins twines tyrannies tyrannize victual vital victuals vitals viz vies whiff wife whin whine whins whines whin wine whins wines whip wipe whipped wiped whipping wiping whips wipes whit Wight whiz Y's will while willed whiled Willie wily willing whiling wills whiles win whine winning whining wins whines win wine winning wining wins wines wind whined wind wind winding winding winds winds writ right writs rights writ write writs writes X's exciseGeographical: Outside English-speaking countries, most visitors are from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Hong Kong, Egypt, Malaysia, Guatemala, Vietnam, Switzerland, Norway, Yemen, India and Nigeria. Average 8 visitors per month.
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2011