A few English words a lot of people mispronounce

A few English words a lot of people mispronounce

English is a funny old language. Descended from a group of 5th century Germanic dialects spoken by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, heavily influenced by Norse and crammed full with loan words from French and Latin.

Modern English is a mongrel that has inherited a legacy of silent letters, vowel shifts, strange spellings and grammatical structures. In other words, it’s hard. Often there is a distant relationship between how a word is spelt and how it is pronounced.

In today’s blog we take a look at some words that are commonly mispronounced by new and native speakers.

1. Comptroller

A comptroller is a person in charge of the financial accounts of a company. While it would be reasonable to assume it is pronounced as it is spelled it should actually be pronounced the same as ‘’controller’’. The confusion comes from an archaic spelling based on the French word ‘’compte’’, meaning account.


2. Colleague

This is another tricky spelling, it looks like it has three syllables but is pronounced with two syllables, (koh-leeg), make sure you don’t add the ‘ue’ sound at the end.


3. Library and February

The double ‘r’ sounds in quick succession are the problem in these two tongue twisters and many people end up leaving out the first ‘r’ sound. Concentrate on pronouncing the first ‘r’ sound to fix the problem, (Feb-roo-ary) and (Li-bra-ri).


4. Receipt

Everybody gets this one wrong, (Ri-ceet) is the correct pronunciation not (Re-ceept)



5. Debt

This is an important one for anyone in business or economics. Like the ‘p’ in receipt the ‘b’ in debt is silent, the correct pronunciation is (Det).



6. Pronunciation

Ironically, the word ‘pronunciation’ is commonly mispronounced. The confusion here lies with the verb form ‘pronounce’ leading many to pronounce the noun as ‘pronounciation’. Remember it’s (Pro-nuhn-see-ey-shun) and your pronunciation of ‘pronunciation’ will be perfect.  

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