Posted by: Jack Henry | October 13, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Commonly Mispronounced Words

I don’t know about you, but I see plenty of written words that I never, or rarely, hear spoken; so I’m not 100 percent sure how to pronounce them. Then there are words that I hear pronounced differently by various people, and I’m not sure what the correct pronunciation is. If I’m not sure how to pronounce a word, I try not to use it until I’ve done my research.

Lucky for me, does the research for me! Today, I give you a list of commonly mispronounced words along with the correct pronunciation and a little background. I have shortened the explanations. To read the entire article, click here.

· Nuclear
A handful of very famous and well-educated people have demonstrated difficulty producing this word. Rather than saying [noo-klee-er], some speaker say [noo-kyuh-ler], which is sometimes spelled out as nucular.

· Ask
Many people transpose the s and the k, saying [aks] rather than [ask]. Today this pronunciation is considered by many to be a mistake; however, this pronunciation has been present in English for centuries.

· Mischievous
The term mischievous is easier to say than many people think. Its correct pronunciation is [mis-chuh-vuhs] not [mis-chee-vee-uhs].

· Utmost
Many people use the term upmost with a p when they mean to say utmost with a t. This drives grammar sticklers insane, tough it’s not necessarily incorrect. To read more click here.

The pronunciation of GIF is a polarizing topic. Steve Wilhite, the creator of this file format, insists that you pronounce it [jif], with a soft g, however [gif] with a hard g is also acceptable according to

· Hyperbole
If you only ever come across the literary term hyperbole in reading, it’s hard to know how it’s pronounced. This word is pronounced [hahy-pur-buh-lee].

· Niche
British English speakers prefer the pronunciation [neesh] while American English speakers prefer [nich].

· Cache
This term has retained the French pronunciation [kash]. Because some languages accent the terminal e, it’s easy for confused English speakers to mispronounce the term as [kash-shey].

· Sherbet
Many English speakers add an extra r into this tasty French loanword. The correct pronunciation is [shur-bet].

· Meme
This word is pronounced [meem]. English speakers mispronounce this as [mee-mee] or as the French word mêmé, pronounced [mem].

· Arctic
In pronouncing arctic many people leave out the first c opting for [ahr-tic] instead of [ahrk-tik].

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

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