Do you ever cringe when you hear someone mangle the pronunciation of a word? Have you ever read a word over and over again in a book and, when you finally hear it said out loud, you’re totally confused? Have you ever turned red after you were called out on your pronunciation of a word? This list is for you! Click through to check out some of the words American English speakers often mispronounce.
Do you have a pronunciation pet peeve of your own? Share it with us in the comments section. I’ll start: “anyways” in place of “anyway.” For me, it’s the verbal equivalent of nails on a chalkboard!
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Common Mistake: Ka-shay.
But It’s Actually: KASH, like the kind you spend.
It’s not uncommon for people to confuse the pronunciation of cache, something hidden or a hiding place, with cachet, meaning prestige or superior status. But they’re not the same word, and they should be pronounced differently!
Common Mistake: Upmost.
People often swap a “p” for a “t” in the word utmost, which means the most extreme or situated at the farthest away point. Upmost, however, is a word, meaning at the top of something, such as, “on the upmost shelf.” However, it is uncommon in American English, and almost always used as an erroneous replacement for “utmost.”
Related: 8 Commonly Misused Words
Common Mistake: NU-cu-lar.
But It’s Actually: NU-clee-ur.
Even world leaders have trouble with this one, so don’t be embarrassed if you’ve been pronouncing it “NU-cu-lar!” Just remember: if you’re pronouncing a vowel that isn’t even in the word, you’re probably pronouncing it incorrectly!
Common Mistake: Irregardless.
Athletes have doping scandals. Politicians have sex scandals. So what do lexicographers have? Word usage scandals, of course! A debate over the word “irregardless” has been brewing among lexicographers, the professionals behind dictionaries, for well over a century. Most dictionaries say that “irregardless” is an incorrect form of regardless; the Oxford English Dictionary refers to it as an American colloquialism. Others, however, note that, because it is in such widespread use in the United States, it should be considered correct.
Common Mistake: Re-a-luh-tur.
But It’s Actually: REAL-tor.
Drop those extra syllables –the correct way to pronounce “realtor” is actually a lot easier than its common alternative!
Common Mistake: BAY-nul.
But It’s Actually: Buh-NAHL.
Banal is a tricky word to pronounce — even some of the best-known dictionaries cite multiple pronunciations or disagree on which one is correct. The most often cited pronunciation, however, is “buh-NAHL.” Err on the side of caution and stick with that one.
Common Mistake: Bi-OP-ic.
But It’s Actually: Bi-o-PICK.
No need to get too fancy in your pronunciation of “biopic,”a shortened word for a biographical film. It does not rhyme with myopic!
Common Mistake: kuh-bosh.
But It’s Actually: KY-bosh.
I know that I’m guilty of this one. Lesson learned!