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22 Common Words You’re Probably Pronouncing Wrong

22 Common Words You’re Probably Pronouncing Wrong

There are a ton of words that you may or may not have been pronouncing wrong your entire life. Some of them are pretty obvious, but some of them are trickier. See if you pass the test. (And for those of you who are currently learning English … I am so, so sorry!)

1. Picture vs. Pitcher

There is, indeed, a difference in pronunciation between the thing hanging on your wall and the thing filled with water on your table. If you’re talking about the hanging thing, it’s PICK-churr. If you’re talking about the water thing, it’s PIT-churr. (Same for the baseball dude.)

2. Mischievious vs. Mischievous

This is actually something I learned pretty recently. I’ve been mispronouncing “mischievous” my whole life, and so have many others. It’s not pronounced “mis-cheev-EE-us”–it’s pronounced “mis-CHIV-us.” For some reason, we keep wanting to add extra i’s. Only three syllables, folks!

3. Kill-AH-meh-tur vs. KILL-oh-mee-tur

Kilometer … this one’s tricky. The stress isn’t on the second syllable (kill-AH-meh-tur), but on the first (KILL-oh-mee-tur). If you get confused by it, here’s the rule of thumb: if it describes distance, the stress is on the first syllable (centimeter, millimeter, decimeter).

4. Jif vs. GIF

This is an acceptance “speech” by the inventor of the GIF, Steve Wilhite. If you’re short on time, skip to 0:58.

Yep. I thought it was a hard ‘G,’ too. And logically, it should be–since it stands for “Graphic Interchange Format.” But whatever. Now you know.

5. Expresso vs. Espresso

Get that ‘x’ out of your espresso. It doesn’t belong there.

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x

    6. Supposably vs. Supposedly

    Supposably is technically a word, but it doesn’t mean what you think it means (*insert Princess Bride meme here*). It means “able to be supposed.” Generally, you won’t be using that word. In the sentence, “Supposedly, Taylor Swift is an excellent musician,” you’ll want to use the ‘ed’ version.

    7. Sherbert vs. Sherbet

    This is one that I refuse to accept, although it’s true.

    Supposedly, here’s no second “r” in “sherbet.”

    8. Irregardless vs. regardless

    There are three schools of thought here.

    #1: Irregardless can and should be used interchangeably with regardless.

    #2: Irregardless isn’t a word.

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    #3: It technically is a word, but you should not use it.

    The first two are incorrect. You shouldn’t use “irregardless,” but it’s also not fair to say that it’s not a word. According to Merriam-Webster, it is a word that originated in 20th century America, but it is still a long way from general acceptance. According to MW, you should ditch it and use “regardless” instead.

    So pretty much, you can use irregardless … but people will notice and think you’re speaking incorrectly. If you absolutely must use it, just don’t use it in a job interview.

    9. Nucular vs. Nuclear

    Nuclear is pronounced “noo-KLEE-UR.” There is no extra ‘u’ in there. Most people have started to say this correctly, though … thanks, George W.

    george

      10. Febuary vs. February

      Don’t forget that first ‘r.’ It’s a little hard to say initially, but you’ll get used to it.

      11. Liberry vs. Library

      Good lord, this is one of my biggest pet peeves. Don’t forget that first ‘r’–and unlike the above, it’s not hard to do.

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      12. Expecially vs. Especially

      This is another case of the “expressos.”

      13. Close vs. Clothes

      It can be a little difficult to fit that “th” sound in there, so a lot of people just skip it entirely. If you have trouble with this one, don’t worry–after a few tries, you’ll get the hang of it.

      14. Excetera vs. Et cetera

      I have known this for a while, and I still get it wrong every time. Et cetera is the correct pronunciation, but a lot of people tend to use that ‘x’ to mush it together into one word.

      15. Athelete vs. Athlete

      This time, people are adding in an extra syllable that doesn’t need to be there. Save yourself some time and credibility here by cutting out that middle syllable to make it “ATH-leet.”

      16. Heighth vs. Height

      This pronunciation probably started because of “width,” but don’t let yourself tag that extra “th” sound on the end. It’s “height and width,” not “heighth and width.”

      17. Mawve vs. Mauve

      This one looks tricky–but it’s not “mawve,” it’s “moave.” Like, rhyming with “grove.” I know, right?

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      wtf

        18. Larvay vs. Larvae

        If you’re talking about multiple baby insects (ew), it’s “LAR-vee”–not “LAR-vay.”

        19. Triathalon vs. Triathlon

        We’re all sticking another syllable in that doesn’t need to be there. It’s three syllables, not four–you can get rid of that third syllable. Though personally, I think the wrong way sounds more epic.

        20. Jewlry vs. Jewelry

        And for this one, we’re cutting out a syllable. It’s JEW-ell-ree–not JEWL-ree.

        21. Zooology … ? vs. Zoology

        So many people pronounce it “zoo-OLL-oh-gee,” when really, it’s just “ZOO-loh-gee.” And that’s probably the reason we never write that word down … though a word with three o’s in a row would be pretty sweet.

        22. Often

        This one sounds crazy, but I’m not making it up. Don’t pronounce the ‘t’ in “often.” It’s silent.

        rage

          Why, English? Why?

          Featured photo credit: Pixionick via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on August 20, 2019

          How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

          How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

          Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

          You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

          Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

          “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

          It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

          Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

          As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

          As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

          Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

          Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

          1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

          When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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          Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

          2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

          Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

          But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

          If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

          Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

          3. Go to All Office Networking Events

          Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

          If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

          Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

          Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

          The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

          Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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          4. Show Initiative

          Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

          Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

          Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

          5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

          Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

          Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

          6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

          A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

          Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

          Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

          A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

          Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

          Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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          These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

          Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

          7. Find a Mentor

          With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

          Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

          Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

          Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

          8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

          After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

          What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

          Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

          Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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          You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

          9. Set Your Professional Bar High

          Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

          Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

          Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

          Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

          The Bottom Line

          Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

          “Half of life is showing up.”

          The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

          Remember, your career is your business!

          More About Continuous Growth

          Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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