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Because English is spoken in so many countries all over the world, it’s pretty difficult to argue that there is just one correct way to pronounce any specific word. Try the word ‘route’, for example – in Britain, the word is pronounced ‘root, while in America it is pronounced rowt (rhymes with ‘out’). Even regional accents can differ within the same country or region.

Because English has evolved delete from a fusion of a variety of different languages, you can’t always rely on the word’s spelling to understand how it’s correctly pronounced. As soon as you learn a pronunciation rule, you’ll be presented with all sorts of exceptions. Take a look at the following ‘ch’ words: cheese, champagne, chaos. While they’re all spelled with the same first two letters, the start of each word is pronounced differently: ch, ‘sh’, and ‘k’. Or how about the different vowel sounds found in these similar looking words: though, thought, through. Mispronunciation is often common even delete among native English speakers.

Today the Speak Up team is taking a quick look at ten commonly mispronounced words, especially for non-native English speakers. Be sure to study the correctly spelling of each word. Most of them are quite deceptive!

Often
The ‘t’ in ‘often’ is completely silent. The correct pronunciation of ‘often‘ is OFF-en.

Infamous
Unfortunately, pronouncing ‘infamous’ isn’t as simple as adding the word IN before the word FAMOUS. Make sure you’re saying IN-fuh-mus.

Supposedly
Notice the ‘d’ near the end of this word and make sure you’re definitely not pronouncing ‘supposedly’ with a ‘b’. It’s suh-POSE-ad-lee, not suh-POSE-ab-lee.

Specific
Make sure you’re pronouncing the ‘s’ at the start of this word. You’re trying to say SPUH-SIH-FIK and not pa-ci-fic.

Subtle
The ‘b’ in ‘subtle’ is completely silent: SUH-tull.

Hyperbole
Here’s a word where the ‘e’ sound at the end is really emphasized. Say hi-PER-boh-lee and not hyper-bowl.

Mischievous
Have you ever caught someone saying mis-CHEE-vi-us? It’s pronounced MIS-chi-vus. (No vee after the chi).

Epitome
Rather than saying epi-tohm, make sure you’re saying ih-PIT-oh-me.

Queue
You need to say the word ‘queue’ exactly like you would say the word CUE.

Et cetera (etc.)
Make sure you’re not saying ‘ex’ sounds where they don’t belong. Say ET CETERA (and not ex cetera).

BONUS WORD
Espresso
Just like Et Cetera, ‘espresso’ is one of many ‘es-’ words that people regularly (and incorrectly!) pronounce using an ‘ex-’ sound. Check that you’re not saying ex-presso (or ex-pecially or ex-cape).

If you’re looking to speak English better than a native, learning these commonly misspelled words will be a huge help on your path to English language mastery. If you’re in the New York City area and are looking for the best way to improve your verbal and written English skills, Speak Up USA offers English education and professional studies for adults. Interested in learning about how we can help you achieve your personal English goals? Get in contact and let us help you.

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