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30 Most Mispronounced Words in English

Updated: 2 days ago



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Introduction


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





Conclusion


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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About Me


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.

 

They'll work for you too.










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