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The basics
Study abroad : Before you leave

11 commonly mispronounced English words

Ever had trouble pronouncing some of these words? Even native English speakers tend to mispronounce certain words. Check them out here.

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Learning a new language, one that you’ve never really heard before can be a challenge, even more so when you’re trying to pronounce those foreign-sounding, tongue-twisting words. The English language is no different. What’s interesting, is that a study has revealed that it’s not just people who are starting to pick up the language, even native English speakers regularly mispronounce words! A shocking 82% of British people are guilty of this!

Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly mispronounced English words and how we should actually be saying them…

Picture – photo or image

Pronounced as “pic-shur” or “pic-tchur” rather than “pitch-er”. Would you like a nice framed picture, or a lovely glass pitcher (a large jug)? Enunciating the Be sure to hard “c” lets everyone know which term you’re referring to. 

Specific – clearly defined

It’s unclear why, but many people drop the “s”. This means that “specific” becomes “pecific”… and suddenly it sounds as though you’re saying “pacific”. Do you mean “particular” and “clearly defined,” or do you mean “peaceful”. 

Suite – a group of things for the same purpose or a hotel room

The English language can be quite confusing. This word looks like it should be pronounced as “suit” – or “soot”, rather than “sweet”. If you said “suit” you would probably receive perplexed looks from the hotel desk.

Queue – stand in line

Yet another term that makes even native speakers wonder why it’s pronounced the way it is. To say this word correctly just look at the “q” and say “kyoo”. The “ueue” is silent.

Clothes – items you wear

The “th” is a very soft sound, but can’t drop it, as you’ll be saying a completely different word – “close”, which might lead to a misunderstanding.

Almond – a variety of nut

Officially pronounced as “ah-mund” – with the pronunciation of the “u” and in “sun”. However, there are many variations among English speakers, such as “aa–mund” and “aal–mund”. 

Houmous/hummus – a dip made from chickpeas

The varied spelling can cause confusion as to which pronunciation would be the right one. Almost everyone loves this chickpea creation and the correct way to say it is “hum-mus” and not “hoo-mus”.

Height – measurement of something

The “g” here has no sound. You pronounce it as “hiyt”.

Ikea – household store

There’s a lot of debate around the correct way to pronounce this hugely popular store. Most people say “eye-ki–yah”, but, officially, apparently we should be saying “ee-key-ah”. 

Prescription – instruction for medication

For some reason, a lot of people trip over this particular word. The right way to say it is “prih-skrip-shun”, not “per-skrip-shun”. 

Particularly – very much or especially

Non-native English speakers might find the sound of this word a little strange. It’s pronounced as “par-tic-you-lar-lee” rather than “par-tic-you-lar-ee”.

Hope this has helped you if you happen to be struggling with some of them!


Photo credit: Stocksnap.io

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