Embarrassment is only one repercussion of mispronouncing a word. Worse than that, saying a word incorrectly can make you seem uneducated, or lead to misunderstanding. Following are common words that are frequently mispronounced, along with their proper pronunciation (NOT “pronounciation”). Your Guru would love to hear your favorites, if they’re not listed here!
Across: Don’t say “acrost” – there’s no T here.
Ask: Don’t say “aks” – just give the axe to that pronunciation.
Cavalry: If you’re talking about a bunch of guys on horses, the V comes first – if you’re talking about a place where a religious figure was executed, it’s the name of a place, and it’s “Calvary.”
The “X” words: As in, there is NO X in any of these: escape, espresso, especially, et cetera.
For all intents and purposes: OK, this is a phrase, but still, this is one your Guru hears so often it’s worth adding to this list. It is NOT “for all intensive purposes.”
Jewelry: It’s not “jewlery” – remember, it’s about jewels, so “jewel” is the root of the word.
Realtor: Your Guru usually hears “re-la-tor,” even from people in the profession! It is “re-al-tor.”
Prostate: Unless pain in the prostate makes a man prostrate with pain, don’t put that R in there.
Library: It’s not “liberry.” Ever.
Dilate: Just like it’s spelled. Don’t tell your ophthalmologist you want your pupils “dialated” – you’ll just hear giggles from the other side of the door.
Remember, even though English spelling can be confusing at times, if you pay close attention, you can usually tell how to pronounce a word simply by how it is spelled.