Friday, November 8, 2019

50 Incorrect Pronunciations That You Should Avoid

50 Incorrect Pronunciations That You Should Avoid 50 Incorrect Pronunciations That You Should Avoid 50 Incorrect Pronunciations That You Should Avoid By Maeve Maddox Fred Astaire drew laughs back in the Thirties with his song Lets Call the Whole Thing Off in which the lovers cant agree on the pronunciation of words like either, neither, and tomato. On a personal level, I cringe when I hear someone sound the t in often or pronounce pecan with a short a, but I have to acknowledge that both these pronunciations are widely accepted alternate pronunciations that can be justified by the spelling. Alternate pronunciations, however, are a different matter from out-and-out mispronunciations. The latter, no matter how common, are incorrect, either because of the spelling that indicates another pronunciation, or because of what is widely agreed upon to be conventional usage. Word of caution: Im writing from an American perspective. Here are 50 frequently mispronounced words. The list is by no means exhaustive, but provides a good start. 1. aegis The ae in this word is pronounced /ee/. Say EE-JIS/, not /ay-jis/. In mythology the aegis is associated especially with the goddess Athene. It is her shield with the Gorgons head on it. 2. anyway The problem with this word is not so much pronunciation as the addition of an unnecessary sound. Dont add an s to make it anyways. The word is ANYWAY. 3. archipelago Because the word is from Greek, the ch is pronounced with a /k/ sound. Say /AR-KI-PEL-A-GO/, not /arch-i-pel-a-go/. 4. arctic Note the C after the R. Say /ARK-TIK/, not /ar-tik/. 5. accessory the first C has a hard sound. Say /AK-SESS-OR-Y/, not /ass-ess-or-y/. 6. ask The S comes before the K. Say /ASK/ not /aks/. 7. asterisk Notice the second S. Say /AS-TER-ISK/, not /as-ter-ik/. 8. athlete The word has two syllables, not three. Say /ATH-LETE/, not /ath-uh-lete/. 9. barbed wire Notice the AR in the first syllable. Say /BARBD/, not /bob/. 10. cache The word is of French origin, but it does not end with an accented syllable. A cache is a hiding place or something that is being hidden: a cache of supplies; a cache of money; a cache of drugs. Say /KASH/, not /ka-shay/. 11. candidate Notice the first d. Say /KAN-DI-DATE/, not /kan-i-date/. 12. cavalry This word refers to troops that fight on horseback. Say /KAV-UL-RY/, not /kal-vuh-ry/. NOTE: Calvary refers the place where Jesus was crucified and IS pronounced /kal-vuh-ry/.) 13. chaos The spelling ch can represent three different sounds in English: /tch/ as in church, /k/ as in Christmas, and /sh/ as in chef. The first sound is heard in words of English origin and is the most common. The second sound of ch, /k/, is heard in words of Greek origin. The third and least common of the three ch sounds is heard in words adopted from modern French. Chaos is a Greek word. Say /KAY-OS/, not /tchay-os/. 14. clothes Notice the TH spelling and sound. Say /KLOTHZ/, not /kloz/. 15. daà ¯s A daà ¯s is a raised platform. The pronunciation fault is to reverse the vowel sounds. The word is often misspelled as well as mispronounced. Say /DAY-IS/ not /dÄ «-is/. 16. dilate The word has two syllables, not three. Say /DI-LATE/, not /di-a-late/. 17. drowned This is the past participle form of the verb drown. Notice that there is no D on drown. Dont add one when using the word in its past form. Say /DROWND/, not /drown-ded/. 18. et cetera This Latin term is often mispronounced and its abbreviation is frequently misspelled. Say /ET CET-ER-A/, not /ex cet-er-a/. For the abbreviation, write ETC., not ect. 19. February Just about everyone I know drops the first r in February. The spelling calls for /FEB-ROO-AR-Y/, not /feb-u-ar-y/. 20. foliage The word has three syllables. Say /FO-LI-UJ/, not /fol-uj/. 21. forte English has two words spelled this way. One comes from Italian and the other from French. The Italian word, a musical term meaning loud, is pronounced with two syllables: /FOR-TAY/. The French word, an adjective meaning strength or strong point, is pronounced with one syllable: /FORT/. 22. Halloween The word for the holiday Americans celebrate with such enthusiasm on October 31 derives from Hallowed Evening, meaning evening that has been made holy. The word hallow comes from Old English halig, meaning holy. Notice the a in the first syllable and say /HAL-O-WEEN/, not /hol-lo-ween/. 23. height The word ends in a /T/ sound, not a /TH/ sound. Say /HITE/, not /hith/. 24. heinous People unfamiliar with the TV show Law and Order: S.V.U. may not know that heinous has two syllables. (The show begins with this sentence: In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous.) Say /HAY-NUS/, not /heen-i-us/. 25. hierarchy The word has four syllables. Say /HI -ER-AR-KY,/ not /hi-ar-ky/. 26. Illinois As with Arkansas, the final s in Illinois is not pronounced. Say /IL-I-NOY/ (and /Ar-kan-saw/, not /il-li-noiz/ or /ar-kan-sas/). NOTE: Some unknowledgeable folks may still be trying to pronounce Arkansas as if it had something to do with Kansas. The pronunciation /ar-kan-zuz/ is waaay off base. 27. interpret The word has three syllables. Dont add one! Say /IN-TER-PRET/, not /in-ter-pre-tate/. 28. incident Something that happens is an incident. Dont say incidence when you mean a specific event. There IS a word incidence, but it has a different meaning. 29. irregardless See the real word, regardless. 30. jewelry The word has three syllables. Say /JEW-EL-RY/, not /jew-el-er-y/. The pronunciation /jewl-ry/ is common but not correct, as it removes one syllable from the word. 31. library Notice where the R comes in the word. Say /LI-BRAR-Y/, not /li-ber-ry/. 32. medieval The word has four syllables. The first E may be pronounced either short [med] or long [meed]. Say /MED-EE-EEVAL/ or /MEE-DEE-EEVAL/, not /meed-eval/. 33. miniature The word has four syllables. Say /MIN-I-A-TURE/, not /min-a-ture/. 34. Mischievous This is the adjective form of mischief whose meaning is calamity or harm. Mischievous is now associated with harmless fun so that the expression malicious mischief has been coined as another term for vandalism. Mischievous has three syllables with the accent on the first syllable: /MIS-CHI-VUS/. Dont say /mis-chee-vee-us/. 35. niche The word is from the French and, though many words of French origin have been anglicized in standard usage, this is one that cries out to retain a long e sound and a /SH/ sound for the che. Say /NEESH/, not /nitch/. 36. orient This word has three syllables. As a verb it means to place something in its proper position in relation to something else. It comes from a word meaning east and originally meant positioning something in relation to the east. Now it is used with a more general meaning. Say /OR-I-ENT/, not /or-i-en-tate/. 37. old-fashioned This adjective is formed from a past-participle: fashioned. Dont leave off the ED. Say /OLD-FASHIOND/, not /old-fashion/. 38. picture Theres a K sound in picture. Dont confuse picture with pitcher. Say /PIK-TURE/, not /pitch-er/. Pitcher is a different word. A pitcher is a serving vessel with a handle. 39. precipitation This is a noun that refers to rain or snow, or anything else that normally falls from the sky. As with prescription (below), the prefix is PRE-. Say /PRE-CIP-I-TA-TION/, not /per-cipi-ta-tion/. 40. prescription Note the prefix PRE- in this word. Say /PRE-SCRIP-TION/, not /per- scrip-tion/ or /pro-scrip-tion/. 41. preventive The word has three syllables. A common fault is to add a syllable. Say PRE-VEN-TIVE/, not /pre-ven-ta-tive. 42. pronunciation This word is a noun. It comes from the verb pronounce, BUT it is not pronounced like the verb. Say /PRO-NUN-CI-A-TION/, not /pro-nounce-i-a-tion/. 43. prostate This word for a male gland is often mispronounced. There is an adjective prostrate which means to be stretched out facedown on the ground. When speaking of the gland, however, say /PROS-TATE/, not /pros-trate/. 44. Realtor The word has three syllables. Say /RE-AL-TOR/, not /re-a-la-tor/. 45. regardless The word has three syllables. Please dont add an IR to make it into the abomination irregardless. 46. sherbet The word has only one r in it. Say /SHER-BET/ not /sher-bert/. 47. spayed This is a one-syllable word, the past participle form of the verb to spay, meaning to remove the ovaries from an animal. Like the verb drown (above) the verb spay does not have a D in its infinitive form. Dont add one to the past participle. Say /SPADE/, not /spay-ded/. 48. ticklish The word has two syllables. Say /TIK-LISH/, not /tik-i-lish/. 49. tract Religious evangelists often hand out long printed statements of belief called tracts. Thats one kind of tract. Houses are built on tracts. Then theres the word track. Athletes run on tracks. Animals leave tracks. Dont say /TRAKT/ when you mean /TRAK/, and vice-versa. 50. vehicle Although there is an H in the word, to pronounce it is to sound hicky. Say /VEE-IKL/, not /vee-Hikl/. 51. wintry Heres another weather word often mispronounced, even by the weather person. The word has two syllables. Say /WIN-TRY/, not /win-ter-y/. Got any to add to the list? Want to improve your English in five minutes a day? Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily! Keep learning! Browse the Spelling category, check our popular posts, or choose a related post below:How to Punctuate References to Dates and TimesTelling a Good Poem from a Bad OneHow to Send Tactful Emails from a Technical Support Desk

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