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30 Most Mispronounced Words in English

Updated: 2 days ago

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Learning to say English words correctly can be difficult. This is because English has so many words that don't follow the usual rules of pronunciation.

Also, some words in English come from other languages. 'Rendezvous', for example, comes from French.

Others are English place names (cities, towns, or states) that are hard to say. UK place names such as Leicester, or Worcestershire are good examples.

Even native English speakers can find English pronunciation confusing sometimes. So, you're not alone!

In this article, I'll give you 30 English words that people often say wrong. I'll teach you the right way to say them.

Here's what I include for each word:

  • the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) characters to help you pronounce it - if you know the IPA.

  • an incorrect pronunciation (not using IPA)

  • a correct pronunciation (also not using IPA)

So, whether:

  • you love learning languages,

  • you've just started to learn English

  • or you've learned English for a while,

this list will help you speak more clearly and avoid mistakes.

Here, now are the 30 most mispronounced words in English, in alphabetical order.

Accessory /əkˈsesəri/

Incorrect: ah-seh-suh-ree

Correct: uhk-seh-suh-ree

Boutique /buːˈtiːk/

Incorrect: boh-teek

Correct: boo-teek

Cache (verb) /kæʃ/

Incorrect: kash-ay (but see below)

Correct: kash

What is the difference between 'cache' and 'cachet' (both are nouns)?

A 'cache' is a group of things that are hidden, and is pronounced like "cash" or 'kaysh'.

'Cachet' can mean 'prestige', 'medicine to be swallowed', or 'an official seal', and is pronounced /ˈkaʃeɪ/ or "cash-ay."

Chaos /keɪɒs/

Incorrect: Cha-os

Correct: Kay-os

Coup /kuː/

Incorrect: koo-p

Correct: koo

Coupon /kuːpɒn/

Incorrect: que-pon

Correct: koo-pon

Cupboard /kʌbəd/

Incorrect: cup-bawd

Correct: kuh-buhd

Epitome /ɪˈpɪtəmi/

Incorrect: e-pi-toe-m (the 'e' as in 'egg')

Correct: e-pit-uh-mee

Espresso /eˈspresəʊ/

Incorrect: ex-press-oh

Correct: ess-press-oh

Film /fɪlm/

Incorrect: fill-um

Correct: fillm

Flour /flaʊə/

Incorrect: fl-ahr

Correct: flou-er (to rhyme with 'flower')

Genre /ʒɑːnrə/

Incorrect: jen-ree

Correct: zhahn-ruh

Hyperbole /haɪˈpɜːbəli/

Incorrect: high-per-bowl

Correct: high-per-buh-lee

Itinerary /aɪˈtɪnərəri/

Incorrect: eye-tin-ary

Correct: eye-tin-uh-rer-ee

Jewellery /dʒuːəlri/

Incorrect: joo-el-er-ee

Correct: joo-el-ree

Library /laɪbrəri/

Incorrect: lie-bree or lie-ber-ee

Correct: lie-brer-ee

Mischievous /mɪstʃɪvəs/

Incorrect: miss-chee-vee-us

Correct: miss-chuh-vuh-s

Niche /nɪtʃ/

Incorrect: nee-shay or nitch

Correct: nee-sh

Often /ɒfn̩/

Incorrect: off-ten

Correct: aw-fuh n or off-en

Probably /prɒbəbli/

Incorrect: prob-lee or prolly

Correct: prob-uh-blee

Pronunciation /prəˌnʌnsɪˈeɪʃn/

Incorrect: pruh-noun-see-ay-shun

Correct: pruh-nun-see-ay-shun

Quinoa /quinoa/

Incorrect: kee-no-ah

Correct: keen-waa

Quote /kwəʊt/

Incorrect: coat

Correct: kwoht or kwoat

Regime /reɪˈʒiːm/

Incorrect: ruh-geem or ruh-jeem

Correct: ruh-zheem

Rendezvous /rɒndɪvuːz/

Incorrect: ren-dez-vuss or ren-dez-vows

Correct: ron-duh-voo or ron-day-voo

Salmon /sæmən/

Incorrect: sal-mun

Correct: sam-un

Salon /sælɒn/

Incorrect: suh-loon

Correct: suh-lon

Saloon /səˈluːn/

Correct: suh-loon (the incorrect pronunciation of 'salon' above)

Sour /saʊə/

Incorrect: saa-r

Correct: sow-uh ('sow' rhymes with 'how' and 'now'), In the US the 'r' is pronounced as in 'tower' or 'power'.

Wednesday /wenzdeɪ/

Incorrect: wed-nez-day

Correct: wenz-day


In this article, I have presented 30 words in English that are commonly mispronounced.

I've given you the API characters that help with saying the words correctly.

And I've shown both how the words are often mispronounced and how they are said properly, using a simple form of 'sounds'.

I plan another article on more mispronounced words in the future. There are quite a few!

And, if YOU have words that you have problems pronouncing, please let me know.

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My name is Michael Finemore, and I am the Owner-Operator of Apex English Tutoring.

As an English Teacher with about 20 years experience, I love doing what I do - helping people get better English with methods to practice that I totally believe work.


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