One of the biggest parts of language is pronunciation. Or sometimes, mispronunciation –which is often times a more common factor in speaking. I found a small list of the most commonly mispronounced words, take a look here:

  • aegis: ee-jis, not ay-jis
  • asterisk: as-ter-isk, not as-ter-ik
  • alumnae: a-lum-nee, not a-lum-nay
  • archipelago: ar-ki-PEL-a-go, not arch-i-pel-a-go
  • athlete: ath-leet, not ath-a-leet
  • candidate: kan-di-dayt, not kan-i-dayt            
  • chimera: kiy-MEER-a, not CHIM-er-a
  • disastrous: di-zas-tres, not             di-zas-ter-es
  • electoral: e-LEK-tor-al, not e-lek-TOR-al            
  • etcetera: et-set-er-a, not ek-set-er-a            
  • lambaste: lam-bayst, not lam-bast
  • larvae: lar-vee, not lar-vay
  • library: li-brar-y, not li-bar-y
  • mischievous: MIS-che-vus, not mis-CHEE-vee-us            
  • mispronunciation: mis-pro-nun-see-ay-shun, not mis-pro-nown-see-ay-shun
  • nuclear: noo-klee-ur, not noo-kyu-lur            
  • nuptial: nup-shul, not nup-shoo-al
  • primer: (schoolbook) prim-mer, not pry-mer
  • picture: pik-cher, not pit-cher
  • prescription: prih-skrip-shun, not per-skrip-shun
  • prerogative: pre-rog-a-tive, not per-rog-a-tive
  • peremptory: per-emp-tuh-ree, not pre-emp-tuh-ree
  • probably: prob-a-blee, not pra-lee or prob-lee
  • Realtor: reel-ter, not ree-la-ter
  • supposedly: su-pos-ed-lee, not su-pos-ab-lee            
  • spurious: spyoor-ee-us, not spur-ee-us            
  • tenet: ten-it, not ten-unt
  • ticklish: tik-lish, not tik-i-lish
  • triathlon: try-ath-lon, not try-ath-a-lon

Some of these are so commonly mispronounced that I realized I have been mispronouncing for a long time. Prescription, ticklish, and triathlon really got me. Especially because I have been learning the points of articulation in class, where we have been separating words syllable by syllable to see at which point your tongue comes in contact with the roof of you mouth, or doesn’t, etc. The thing with speaking these words is that you don’t have to say each and every syllable, some of them aren’t pronounced that way.

However, do you remember music class in elementary school when your teacher would help you count beats by clapping to the syllables? We learned with our names.

Whit *clap* ney *clap* = two syllables

It’s tricky though, because then you are doing it with every single word you are learning. We don’t speak in syllables, and that is where I got caught. So, now you begin to train yourself all over again because it doesn’t look good to say “tik-a-lish,” or “tik-i-lish” when the word is tik-lish. No claps.

Feel free to comment with the words you have found to be the most tricky!



  1. Archipelago, electoral, and primer got me. I realized that I have heard some of these words pronounced both ways, and I just went with the way I thought sounded ‘right’… And I ended up wrong. “Primer” still looks like it should be read the /incorrect/ way, but after re-reading “mischievous” I can’t believe I was mispronouncing it for this long.

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