• We can use that idea.
  • That idea has no conceivable use.
  • It is necessary to house these students.
  • The will reside in that house.
  • I cannot prove that.
  • I have no proof.
  • I can breathe.
  • Every breath I take is worth it.
  • Live long and prosper.
  • Have a long life.
  • Save your money.
  • Your money is safe.

Here we have pairs in which a verb ends with a voiced consonant and a corresponding noun with a corresponding voiceless consonant (except that "safe" is a noun perhaps only in the sense in which that term is used in a Latin grammar that I saw that was published in 1709, and disinguished between two kinds of "nouns": substantives and adjectives).

  • Is there a name for this sort of pair?
  • Is there any list of such pairs in standard use in English?

1 Answer 1


I don't know a name for this, but it is a well-established phenomenon of English.

Other examples are

  • belief/believe
  • grief/grieve
  • bath/bathe
  • mouth/mouth
  • wreath/wreathe
  • glass/glaze
  • grass/graze
  • brass/braze
  • I don't know why I missed "belief/believe" in my list. Dec 25, 2019 at 20:25
  • loose/lose. close/close. Jan 4, 2020 at 21:07
  • Both rather special cases, @MichaelHardy: Loose and close are primarily adjectives, It's not clear that loose is cognate with lose (though it has influenced its pronunciation), and close (n) with an /s/ is a special meaning. close (n) with /z/ is closer (!) in meaning to close (v).
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 5, 2020 at 0:13
  • half/halve. .......... Jan 5, 2020 at 4:40
  • 1
    I see. One of the problems in making a list is that you have to keep a list. Jan 5, 2020 at 20:36

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