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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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          Published on September 16, 2020

          12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

          12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

          Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

          Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

          Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

          Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

          Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

          Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

          1. Organization

          When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

          When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

          Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

          To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

          To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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          2. Flexibility

          You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

          Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

          For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

          To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

          To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

          3. Collaboration

          As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

          Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

          To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

          To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

          4. Poise

          Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

          When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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          What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

          To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

          To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

          5. Communication

          Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

          When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

          To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

          To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

          6. Good Computer Hygiene

          Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

          Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

          To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

          To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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          7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

          Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

          Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

          To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

          To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

          8. Respecting Feedback

          In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

          Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

          To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

          To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

          9. Project Management

          Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

          To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

          To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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          10. Staying up to Speed

          Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

          To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

          To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

          11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

          “Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

          To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

          To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

          12. Teamwork

          Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

          Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

          To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

          To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

          Final Thoughts

          Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

          More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

          Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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