We’ve all been there. You’re at a party, talking to someone you want to impress, trying to sound superintellectual, when wham! You toss in some ostensibly impressive word or term and then realize by the expression on your listener’s face that you completely blew it by mispronouncing said word or term. It’s indeed a common problem and a common worry. A 2015 study conducted for Dictionary.com found that 47 percent of all Americans are irritated by mispronunciations and
correct their family and friends. Millennials – aged eighteen to thirty-four – are the pickiest: 63 percent of them confess to correcting other people’s mistakes.”
-Ross Petras and Kathryn Petras
As an English teacher, I feel totally comfortable educating my students regarding pronunciation and writing. A little red pen never hurt anybody after all. Beyond high schoolers, though, I am at a loss. How do you tell one of your closest friends that they are saying certain words wrong. One time can be overlooked, but repeat offenses are tricky.
You’re Saying it Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words and Their Tangled Histories of Misuse is a lifesaver. With words ranging from GIF to forte, sough to homage, and gyro to crudites, this book covers all of the words that come up in both casual and academic conversations. It can be a lifesaver when trying to avoid awkward situations. Even words like prestigious or phrases like Daylight Saving Time (that’s right – there’s no s at the end of the middle word) can trip you up in conversations. This small guide, though, is the perfect refresher for any time that you want to feel a bit smarter and a bit more confident before any important conversation.