Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    #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.

      Advertising

      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?

      Advertising

      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

          More by this author

          22 Common Words You’re Probably Pronouncing Wrong 17 Signs You Have The Coolest Mom In The World 10 Benefits of Lemon Juice You Never Knew 15 Relationship Lessons That Ted Mosby Taught Us 10 Quotes That Will Surely Motivate You When Facing Huge Challenges

          Trending in Work

          1 10 Simple Yet Powerful Business Goals to Set This Year 2 13 Characteristics of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs 3 5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All 4 10 Simple Habits Every Effective Manager Needs to Learn 5 10 Ways To Help Your Employees Have A Healthy Work-Life Balance

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on March 29, 2021

          5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

          5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

          When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

          What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

          The Dream Type Of Manager

          My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

          I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

          My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

          Advertising

          “Okay…”

          That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

          I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

          The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

          The Bully

          My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

          However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

          Advertising

          The Invisible Boss

          This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

          It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

          The Micro Manager

          The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

          Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

          The Over Promoted Boss

          The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

          Advertising

          You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

          The Credit Stealer

          The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

          Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

          3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

          Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

          1. Keep evidence

          Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

          Advertising

          Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

          Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

          2. Hold regular meetings

          Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

          3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

          Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

          However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

          Good luck!

          Read Next