English Speech: Commonly Mispronounced words

Pronunciation is an important part of speaking and learning English. Improve your English speaking skills by learning how to pronounce most commonly mispronounced words correctly.

The pronunciation of words depends on the accent and native language of the person speaking English. A lot of the time, people go with the spelling of the word and get fooled because the spellings can be deceiving in English. Do you know many English speakers commonly misspronounce the word pronounciation itself!!! How do you say it?

  • Incorrect: pruh-noun-see-ey-shuh n
  • Correct: pruh-nuhn-see-ey-shuh n

A lot of non- native speakers find this problem, and it is difficult for them to know the right pronunciation without hearing the language enough. Now that you can avail online tutorials, people can pick up languages fast, especially with so many videos on English speaking and pronunciation available. 

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Pronouncing English words the right way

Many of the words may be pronounced differently than the way they are spelled. You can see in the examples provided below and know why it confuses people after they see the spelling, and the word isn’t said in another way altogether. When you use a dictionary, many people don’t often notice that there is also the pronunciation of the word next to it. Now you can use the audible facility online to read out the exact pronunciation, which is a major help to people trying to perfect their language.

For example:

  • Knife- here you skip pronouncing the K 
  • Psychology- here you skip pronouncing the p
  • Wednesday- d has to be left out when saying the word
  • Honest- H is not at all pronounced which most people don’t know
  • Know- k is left out
  • Doubt- b isn’t used when saying the word
  • Walk- l isn’t pronounced
  • Debt- b is left out
  • Neigh- here two letters are not pronounced, g and h
  • Fasten- t is left out which most people don’t realize
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Then there are doubts for beginners for some works which may have the pronunciation of K but begin with C.

  • Cliff, climb, car, cat, etc.

Then there are words which users may think begin with J, but we use g

  • Gelatine, germs, genuine, genes

You will find so many such words that may use a letter that may don’t need to be there because we don’t use it. It’s bizarre and funny, but English has borrowed from so many languages such as Latin, French, Sanskrit, Hindi, French Italian, and so many other dialects, etc. The language is a potpourri of all cultures and civilizations. And the most spoken tongue too.

Now that new words keep adding in the dictionary, especially in the tech world, it’s becoming hard to keep up with the words and their pronunciations as well. Such as

  • Cache – is pronounced as cash
  • GIF-  is pronounced as Jif
  • Meme- is pronounced as meem

There are some English words that you see often used by people, but you may hesitate to do so for fear of mispronouncing them

  • Niche
  • Forte
  • Mojito
  • Jalapeno
  • Pizza
  • Crème Brulee 
  • Foie gras 
  • Mauve
  • Suite
  • Valet

The words mentioned above are tough and need practice often also become a butt of jokes for others when they hear you mispronounce them. With perseverance and practice, you will know how to say them out loud perfectly.

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There are even more words that are pronounced for style though may not be the right pronunciation such as

  • Financial – normally fi- nan- shi- al but now it is said fin-an-shi-al
  • Schedule- normally she- du-al but now it is Sched-ual
  • Education- normally eju-ca-shon but now it is edu – ca- shon
  • Multi- normally mul-ti but now it is mul-tie

So if you are an English learner, you would have to be abreast of the latest lingo. And keep checking out the new words that are added and how the new generations pronounce them. Probably even an alternate dictionary may pop up mind you!

Word Pronounciation Practice Exercise

The following are 20 most commonly mispronounced words in English. Try to pronounce the word again and again till you can do it with perfection. We have also given how it is pronounced in square brackets [] against each word.

  1. GIF [jiff]
  2. Gauge [geyj]
  3. Calvary [ka-vuhl-ree]
  4. Coupon [koo-pon]
  5. Niche [neesh]
  6. Espresso [e-spres-oh]
  7. Chaos [Key-os]
  8. Flautist [FLOU-tist]
  9. Chimera [kiy-meer-a]
  10. Boutique [boo-teek]
  11. Epitome [ih-pit-uh-mee]
  12. Mischievous [MIS-chuh-vus]
  13. Flour [flou-er]
  14. Debris [deb-ree]
  15. Debut [dey-byoo]
  16. Divorce [dih-vawrs]
  17. Federal [feh-duh-ruhl]
  18. Faux pas [foh-pah]
  19. Genre [zhahn-ruh]
  20. Pseudonym [sood-n-im]

Another interesting practice exercise would be- Can you write down the meaning of all these word?

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