OK, people. Dust off the fluorescent peep dust. We’re going to delve into the world of correct pronunciations today and we’re all gonna learn a little something. In fact, let’s start with “pronunciation,” which is not spelled or pronounced like “pronounce” though you think it would be. Sound it out. Ah, English; you’re crazy.
I was looking up the word “tenterhooks” the other day (to be on tenterhooks is to be in a state of anxiety) when I stumbled on this great site that covers a whole host of words commonly mispronounced words, which for a word person means hours of diversion. Let me admit up front that I’m also an offender. I’ve been saying jewelry wrong for years, switching the “e’s” around so it sounds like “jewlery.” And I’ve always thought it was “chomping at the bit” when you’re excited about something (or a horse), but it’s really “champing at the bit.” Say that though, and people think you can’t speak properly.
Here’s a handy tip for coffee lovers from the list: it’s “espresso” not “expresso,” so don’t embarrass yourself at Starbucks, because the people in line and the barista are already looking for a reason to laugh at you.
Now, even though the polar ice caps are melting faster than a chocolate bunnies at the beach, it doesn’t mean we can go around mispronouncing Arctic and Antarctica by dropping those “c’s.” Antarctica is suffering enough indignities without us mangling the name.
Here’s one we’re all probably guilty of: despite that tricky “t,” the word “often” is pronounced “ofen” even if it sounds all Old Englishy.
Finally, pronouncing “etc.” as “excetera” is one of my pet peeves so you should seriously snap to attention. The abbreviation is short for “et cetera,” so pronounce it that way; then you can go all Latin on other people who pronounce it incorrectly.