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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 January 21, 2020

          How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

          How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

          We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

          So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

          While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

          Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

          What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

          How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

          But what does being productive actually entail?

          Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

          Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

          It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

          Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

          9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

          1. Avoid Multitasking

          Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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          Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

          If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

          2. Turn off Notifications

          According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

          Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

          The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

          Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

          3. Manage Interruptions

          There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

          Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

          If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

          By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

          4. Eat the Frog

          Mark Twain once famously said that:

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          “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

          What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

          We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

          Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

          5. Cut Down on Meetings

          Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

          You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

          The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

          But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

          If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

          6. Utilize Tools

          Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

          If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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          And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

          Some examples of tools that could be used:

          Communication
          • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
          • Samepage for video conference software.
          • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
          Task Management
          • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
          • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
          • Wekan for an open source option.
          Database Management
          Time Tracking
          • Clockify for a free tracker.
          • TMetric for workspace integrations.
          • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

          You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

          7. Declutter and Organize

          Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

          Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

          Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

          Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

          8. Take Breaks

          Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

          As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

          Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

          Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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          9. Drink Water

          Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

          Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

          Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

          A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

          If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

          You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

          The Bottom Line

          The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

          After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

          In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

          A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

          Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

          More About Boosting Productivity

          Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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