IPA phoneme /e/
The IPA phonetic symbol [ɛ] corresponds to the monophthong vowel sound in words like "dress", "net" and "head". However the very influential Oxford dictionaries selected /e/ for this sound. Most American dictionaries (when using IPA) prefer /ɛ/. The Concise Oxford Dictionary altered the tradition and now uses /ɛ/; later Oxford Dictionaries Online followed the same convention. This has been referred to as "a perfectly acceptable relatively narrow transcription of the mainstream GB phoneme", and also "an alteration [...] from /e/ to /ɛ/ is probably on balance better not adopted".
There is no risk of confusion if /e/ is used instead of /ɛ/. The only care that must be taken is realizing that /eɪ/ as in "face" is not the combination of /e/ as in "dress" and /ɪ/ as in "kit". Only the /ɪ/ as in "kit" part applies.
Informally this phoneme is the so-called “short e”.
 Common words
Some common words which practice the pronunciation of /e/ include the following:
- with "e": bend - best - bet - egg - end - get - hotel - jet - leg - lend - let - met - pen - rent - send - set - wet
- with ""ea"": already - bread - breakfast - breast - breath - cleanse - dead - deaf - dealt - death - dread - dreadful - feather - head - header - health - heather - heavy - instead - jealous - lead (metal) - leapt - leather - meadow - meant - measure - pheasant - pleasant - pleasure - read (past tense and past participle) - ready - spread - steady - sweat - thread - threat - threaten - treachery - tread - treadmill - treasure - wealth - weather
- others: again - any - many - ate (UK) - friend - leisure - said - says
- homophones: bread/bred - lead/led - leant/lent - read/red - sent/cent/scent - weather/whether
 Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1
Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following sections aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.
While /e/ as in "dress" (more precisely [ɛ]) is very similar as the Spanish letter "e", many Spanish speakers have difficulty remembering that many other words with different spellings may also have the same pronunciation in English. This is particularly true of "said" /sed/ and "says" /sez/ which are often heard as */seɪd/ and */seɪz/.
Practically all Spanish speakers know that "head" is pronounced /hed/. However many of them pronounce "header" as /'hi:dər/, rhyming it with "reader" and "leader".
 See also
- Oxford Dictionaries Online, Key to pronunciations (British and World English dictionary). See ɛ as in bed.
- IPA vowel symbols for British English in dictionaries, Section 5. /ɛ/ versus /e/.