Hello, and welcome back.
In this lesson, I will show you
fifty words that you are probably pronouncing
incorrectly right now.
And I’ll also teach you how to say them
Let’s start with this word – how do you say it?
Well, we say /prə-’nauns/, /prə-’naunst/ and
/prə-’nauns-iŋ/, but /prə-nən- si-’eɪ-shən/.
There’s no ‘noun’ in this word.
Word number two is ‘says’.
This word is commonly mispronounced
by people learning English as /seɪs/.
But remember: I say, you say, but he or she /sez/.
Number three is ‘et cetera’.
A very common incorrect
pronunciation is to say ‘ek’ – ‘ek setra’ instead of ‘et’.
Don’t say that.
And also remember that the stress is on
So the word is /et-’se- tə-rə/.
You will also hear /et-’se-trə/ – that is less
common but it’s OK too.
Next up is ‘often’.
Some pronounce this as /’äf-tən/.
Now, strictly speaking, /’äf- tən/ is not wrong, but the more
common pronunciation is with the ‘t’ silent, so I recommend
that you always say /’ä-fən/.
One word that is often mispronounced by learners of
English is ‘women’.
This is, of course, because of the English
language’s crazy spelling system.
But remember that we say /’wu-mən/ for one woman and
/’wi-min/ for the plural – /’wi-min/.
Word number six is ‘police’.
This isn’t /po-lees/ or /po- lis/.
It’s /pə/ and /lees/ with the stress on /lees/.
The next word is ‘vehicle’.
It’s often pronounced wrongly as /ve-hi-kl/.
But the ‘e’ is a long vowel and the ‘h’ is
Number eight is this word.
How would you say it?
The correct pronunciation is /’zhän-rə/.
Pay attention to the first sound,
it’s like ‘sh’ but you put your voice into it - /’zhän-rə/.
/’zhän-rə/ Next up is actually what you’re
watching right now – ‘video’.
The important thing is that both the ‘i’ and the ‘e’ are
pronounced as short ‘i’ sounds.
It’s not /vee-di-o/, it’s /’vi-di-o/.
If you watch a video on YouTube or Facebook, you might leave a
I have heard many speakers say /’kə-ment/.
Now whether you use this word as a
noun or a verb, the first syllable is always /’kä /. So
it’s never a /’kə-ment/, it’s a /’kä-ment/.
Word number eleven is ‘interesting’.
This is mispronounced sometimes as
But there are only three syllables – /in / –
/trə / – /stiŋ/ and the stress is on ‘IN’.
So the word is /’in-trə-stiŋ/.
Number twelve is ‘hotel’.
There are two syllables – /ho/ and /
tel/ like the English word ‘tell’ as in ‘tell me’.
The stress is on the second
syllable, so /ho-’tel/.
A related word is ‘suite’.
This means a set of connected rooms
in a hotel and this is wrongly pronounced by many people as
But it’s /sweet/ - like when you eat a piece of candy -
While we’re on the topic of suites and hotels, I cannot
leave out this word – ‘restaurant’.
It gives a lot of English learners trouble.
But, don’t let the fancy spelling
confuse you – the second syllable is just /tə /. The
third is /ränt/.
So /’res-tə- ränt/.
In British English, you might hear just two syllables –
/’res-trɒnt/ - that is also correct.
After you eat at a restaurant, you have to pay the bill.
But you might get a discount on
your bill if you have one of these – a ‘coupon’.
A common incorrect pronunciation is
But the second syllable should be /pän/.
So – /’koo-pän/.
Here’s word number sixteen – how would you say it?
The proper pronunciation is not
‘break’ ‘fast’ – it’s ‘breakfast’.
/brek / with a short /e/ sound and /fəst/ with
an /ə/ sound - so /’brek-fəst/.
You know what I had for breakfast today?
I had this – ‘pizza’.
Really, I did.
It’s not a /pee-sə/ and it’s not a
There’s no /z/ sound in this word.
It’s /peet/, /sə/ - /’peet-sə/.
Another food word that’s mispronounced a lot is
It’s not /ve-jə- tə-bl/.
If you say it correctly, there are only three syllables
- /vej/, / tə/, /bl/ - /’vej- tə-bl/.
Let’s talk about a couple of vegetables now – this is a
It’s not a /ku- koom-bər/.
Think of it like saying the letter ‘Q’ and then
/kəm-bər/ like ‘number’.
This vegetable is called ‘lettuce’.
I know the spelling looks like /let-yoos/ but it’s
not – it’s /letis/.
And since we talking about food, here’s a food that just
about everybody loves – ‘chocolate’.
When you ask for this at the store, make sure
there are only two syllables – /chäk/ and /lət/ - /’chäk-lət/.
And remember: there is no ‘late’ in ‘chocolate’.
Speaking of chocolate, how would you say this word?
This is ‘dessert’.
Notice that the first syllable is /di/, and the
second starts with a /z/ sound.
We stress the second syllable – /di-’zərt/.
This word refers to something sweet that’s eaten at
the end of a meal, and it should not be confused with
‘desert ’. Here, the stress is on the first syllable which is
/de/ - /’de-zərt/.
Now I said that desserts are sweet.
But what about this taste?
It’s pronounced ‘sour’.
Some people say /sär/ - that is a mispronunciation.
The only correct way to say this word is
Many words in the English language have silent letters –
that is, letters that we don’t pronounce.
As in word number twenty-four – ‘receipt’.
The ‘p’ is silent.
When you purchase something or you pay a
bill, you get a /ri-’seet/.
Now if you don’t pay your bills, you might find yourself
The ‘b’ is silent in this word, so /det/.
If a debt is related to your house, it might be a
This word means a loan that a bank gives you to
buy a house.
So, which letter is silent here?
It’s the ‘t’.
The first syllable is /mör/ and the second is /gij/.
So /’mör- gij/.
Number twenty-seven is this word – how would you say it?
The ‘b’ is silent.
Subtle means something that is difficult to notice or
something that isn’t obvious.
And once again, the word is pronounced /’sə-tl/.
Another popular word with a silent letter is ‘singer’ – the
‘g’ is silent.
Now we say ‘finger’ (we say the ‘g’),
‘younger’ (again, with the ‘g’) but /’siŋ-ər/ (no ‘g’).
And what would you call someone who fixes taps and pipes at
You call him a ‘plumber’.
Not a /’pləm-bər/ – the ‘b’ is silent.
So /’pləm- ər/.
In fact, in many words, when you have the letter combination
‘mb’, the ‘b’ is silent.
If I had a ladder in front of me
now, I could ‘climb’ the ladder.
A quick note - in the pronunciation
symbols that you see, the ‘ai’ is an /ai/ sound not an /ei/
So the word is /’klaɪm/.
By the way, what’s this?
This is my ‘thumb’.
It’s not my /’thəmb/ – it’ pronounced
And what about this?
This is a comb.
Not a /komb/ - a /kom/.
A similar-sounding word is ‘tomb’.
It’s often wrongly pronounced as /tomb/, but the
‘b’ is silent, and the ‘o’ is pronounced with an ‘oo’ sound.
A tomb is a place like the Taj Mahal, where a person, usually
an important person, is ‘buried’.
We say /’be-ri/.
Now when I first heard this as a
kid, I was really surprised because I used to say /’bə-ri/.
I mean, it looks like that, right?
But this word sounds just like the ‘berry’ in
So once again – /’be-ri/.
But back to silent letters.
How do you say this day of the
It’s ‘Wednesday’ – the ‘d’ is silent.
Sometimes it is pronounced as /’wednz-deɪ/ but
the proper way to say it is /’wenz-deɪ/.
What about this – ‘sword’.
Many people say /sword/ but that is
It is just /’sord/.
And here’s our last word with silent letters – ‘clothes’.
But what’s silent here?
Well, first of all, this word is not
When we say /’kloz/, the ‘th’ in the middle can
often be silent – /’kloz/.
But it’s not wrong if you say them
with a ‘dh’ sound – /’klodhz/.
That’s also correct.
In some words, people think a letter is silent, but it’s not.
For example, look at this word – what is it?
This is the name for the region at the North Pole of the earth.
It’s mispronounced by many as /’är-tik/ but it’s actually
The ‘c’ in the middle is not silent.
Similarly, /ant-’ärk-tik/ and /ant-’ärk-tikə/ – that’s the
name of the region at the South Pole.
Sometimes people also mistakenly insert letters or
sounds that are not there.
Like in the word ‘mischievous’.
This is not /mis-’chee-vi-əs/.
There is no ‘i’ after the ‘v’.
The last syllable is just /vəs/.
And then there are words that have hidden sounds that we
don’t recognize – like the word ‘tuition’.
It’s /tu-’wi-shən/ in American English and /tyu-’wi-
shən/ in British English.
So what’s the hidden sound here?
Well, the first syllable is easy - /tu/ (American) or /tyu/
But after that, it’s not /i-shən/, it’s /’wi-shən/.
You have to put the ‘w’ sound in there.
Word number forty-one is this word.
How do you say it?
If you said /zu-’ä-lə-ji/ it’s actually
That is a very common mispronunciation.
This is actually /zo-’ä-lə-ji/ - /zo/
Number forty-two is ‘develop’.
This is pronounced wrongly by many learners of English as
But the first syllable is actually /di/, and
the stress is on the second syllable.
Our next word is ‘photography’.
We say /’fo-tə-graf/ but /fə-’tä-grə-fi/.
So the first syllable becomes /fə /. And the
stress goes to the second syllable - /tä-grə-fi/ So
In the same way, /fə-’tä-grə-fər/.
Word number forty-four is ‘jewelry’.
It’s spelled differently in American and
British English but it’s pronounced the same - /’joo/,
/əl/, /ri/ - /’joo-əl-ri/.
It’s not /’jyu-lə-ri/ and it’s not
Up next is the word ‘quote’.
This is not pronounced the same as ‘coat’.
The correct way to say it is with a /kw/ sound at
the beginning - /’kwot/.
Similarly, we have ‘quotation’ and ‘quotation marks’.
Another punctuation term that many people get wrong is
This is the proper name for the round
brackets that we use in writing.
If you talk about just one bracket, you say /pə-’ren-
The stress is on /ren/.
If you’re talking about both, the plural is /pə-’ren-
The last syllable becomes /seez/.
Word number forty-seven is this word.
It’s not so much that it’s mispronounced, it’s just
that it’s said differently in the UK and in the US.
In American English, this is
The first syllable is /ske/ and the second is
/jool/ - schedule.
In British English, it can be both /’she-
jool/ or /’shed-yool/.
So you can choose the pronunciation
that is right for you.
Number forty-eight is the word ‘elite’.
Actually, there are two correct pronunciations -
/i-’leet/ and /ei-’leet/.
Both are OK but just don’t say /i-
There’s no ‘light’ in /i-’leet/.
Now if you keep practicing your pronunciation and avoid the
mistakes that I’ve shared with you in this lesson, you might
just become English pronunciation elite one day.
In fact, you might even become the
‘epitome’ of good pronunciation.
This word means a perfect example of something,
and the perfect pronunciation of that is /i-’pi-tə-mee/.
It’s not /’e-pi-tom/.
Once again, it’s /i-’pi-tə-mee/.
Of course, once you have become the epitome of good
pronunciation, don’t go around correcting everybody for every
single pronunciation mistake that they make.
Because that way, instead of becoming
famous, you might just become ‘infamous’.
This word is the opposite of famous and it means
famous for something bad.
But it’s not pronounced /in-’fei-
It’s pronounced /’in-fə- məs/.
Alright, I hope you enjoyed this lesson.
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If you have any questions at all,
you can always ask me in the comments section below and I
will talk to you there.
Happy learning, and I’ll see you in
another lesson soon.