The 19 Top Mispronounced Words: Get Out Your Mental Floss

mispronounced-wordsFred Astaire drew laughs back in the Thirties with his song “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” in which the lovers can’t agree on the pronunciation of words like either, neither, and tomato. In a professional setting, it’s not so funny when people mispronounce words. This becomes a communication distraction and your message will not be heard.

Anyway: Not anyways. The problem with this word is not so much pronunciation as the addition of an unnecessary sound.

Both: Not Bof. Enunciate the th sound as in birthday.

Cache: Pronounced the same way as cash, and it means a group of items hidden in a secret storage place.

Candidate: Notice the first d. Say kan-di-date not kan-i-date.

et cetera (ETC.): This Latin term is often mispronounced. Say et-cet-er-a not ex-cet-er-a.

Frustrated/Flustered: Use either one. Just remember there is no such word as flustrated. Hearing that frustrates me.

Height: Th e word ends in a t sound, not a th. Say hite not hith.

Regardless/Irrespective: Do no use irregardless. There is no such word,so don’t use it.

In regard to vs. with regard to: In regard to is more common but both are acceptable. Use in regard and not regards. Adding the s is not correct.

Mischievous: Pronounces mis-che-vous with three syllables, not four. Mis-chee-vee-ous is not correct.

Often: Should be pronounced off-en with no emphasis on the t. This is similar to pronouncing soften.

Picture: It’s pic-shur or pic-tchur not pitch-er. You look at a picture on the wall and put water in the pitcher. Make sure to enunciate that hard c.

Prescription: Note the prefix PRE in this word. Say pre-script-tion not

Preventive: The word has three syllables. Say pre-ven-tive, not pre-ven-ta-tive.

Sherbet: Say sheer-bet not sher-bert. Remember, only Ernie says, “Sure, Bert.”

Silicon: Silicon and silicone are not the same word. Silicon refers to the chemical element used in electronics, and silicone is a rubbery compound used in non-stick cookware and caulking. Silicon, as in “Silicon Valley,” is pronounced sill-i-con, and silicone is pronounced sill-i-cone.

Specific: Don’t miss pronouncing the p. Specific then becomes pecific and it sounds like pacific.

Suite: Suite, is usually a collection of furniture or group of things. This word is pronounced sweet not suit. There can be regional differences.

With: Not wiff. Pronounce the th at the end of the word.

What mispronounced words make you crazy?

Also, email me if you are interested in receiving a recap of Redundant Phrases!

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.  ~ George Bernard Shaw

Cheers, Marsha

Please let us know if you are interested in a tailored presentation for your company, association or group.

Professional Speaker, Executive Coach and Best Selling Author

Connect on FaceBook, LinkedIn, TwitterPinterestGoogle+YouTube

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Lisa says:

    When I hear jew-le-ry instead of jew-el-ry.

  2. Mike says:

    advice / advise
    affect / effect
    your / you’re

    I realize the last pair are homonyms, but I see it written so often.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *