250+ Commonly Mispronounced Words in English

2018-11-21T19:57:27+00:00By |Pronunciation, Spoken English|

Non-native speakers mispronounce by the dozen every day. Even fluent speakers. Even those working in high-paying white-collar jobs.

Why have they been making these pronunciation mistakes for years, even decades. Why don’t they correct themselves?

The answer is this question: will they take corrective steps when they don’t even know they’re mispronouncing?

In this post, I’ll list correct pronunciation of more than 250 commonly-mispronounced words in English. And places. And brands.

In some of the pronunciations below, you’ll be off by just tiny bit (and that’s enough of a mistake), and therefore you’ll have to look at the pronunciations carefully to spot the mistake you’ve been making. To give an example, the correct pronunciation of the word ‘refrigerator’ is ‘ri-frij-uh-rey-ter’. However, almost everyone calls it ‘re-frij-uh-rey-ter’. Did you catch ‘ri’ vs. ‘re’?

For few pronunciations, I’ve highlighted the common mistake in red. You’ll realize that in most cases you mispronounce because you speak the word the way it is written.

Before we jump into the list, here is a brief 101 lesson on how to speak out pronunciations mentioned in the tables below. (The pronunciations in this post are in non-phonetic form, which are more intuitive than phonetic form. You can see the difference between the two through this example.)

  • Each group of letters separated by the hyphen is called a syllable. For example, the pronunciation ‘re-frij-uh-rey-ter’ has five syllables. Syllables are the building blocks of pronunciation and are spoken as a unit sequentially.
  • The syllables in bold need to be stressed (means they need to be said louder and longer than other syllables). For example, the syllable ‘frij’ is stressed more than other syllables while pronouncing ‘refrigerator’.
  • ‘uh’ appears in almost every second pronunciation. It sounds what it looks like. I would suggest you to listen the pronunciation of few words such as ‘address’, ‘balloon’, and ‘cadet’ at dictionary.com to get a hang of ‘uh’ sound.
  • When in doubt on any of the pronunciations in the tables below, type in the word in dictionary.com and listen.

Recommended post on related topic:

How to Improve Pronunciation – My Experience with 3,400+ Words?

Words whose different forms are pronounced differently

WordPronunciation (verb)Pronunciation (noun)
Contestkuh n-testkon-test
Convictkuh n-viktkon-vikt
Objectuh b-jektob-jekt
Proceedpruhseedproh-seed
Progresspruhgresprog-res
Projectpruhjektproj-ekt
Recordri-kawrdrek-erd

A

WordPronunciation
Acousticuhkoo-stik
Adjectiveaj-ik-tiv
Adjustuhjuhst
Adolescentad-l-esuhnt
Alcoholalkuh-hol
Almondamuhnd
Alzheimer’sahlts-hahy-merz
Ambitiousam-bishuh s
Apriley-pruhl
Arithmeticuhrith-muh-tik
Asthmaaz-muh
Attorneyuhtur-nee
Automobileaw-tuh-muhbeel

B

WordPronunciation
Balconybal-kuh-nee
Balletba-ley
Balloonbuhloon
Bananabuhnanuh
Barleybahrlee
Barometerbuhrom-i-ter
Bearbair
Biologybahy-oluh-jee
Bombbom
Bouquetboo-key
Breakfastbrekfuhst
Buffetbuhfey
Buryber-ee

C

WordPronunciation
Cachekash
Cadetkuhdet
Canalkuhnal
Capacitykuhpas-i-tee
Careerkuhreer
Carnivorouskahr-niv-er-uh s
Celebritysuhleb-ri-tee
Chaoskey-os
Civilsivuh l
Cleanserklen-zer
Collaborationkuh-lab-uhrey-shuhn
Colonialismkuhloh-nee-uh-liz-uh m
Combkohm
Comediankuhmee-dee-uhn
Commoditykuhmod-i-tee
Competitorkuhm-pet-i-ter
Complacencykuh m-pley-suh n-see
Complicitkuh m-plis-it
Congratulationkuh n-grach-uhley-shuh n
Creaturekree-cher
Crocodilekrokuh-dahyl
Cucumberkyoo-kuhm-ber

D

WordPronunciation
Debrisdeybree
Decentdee-suh nt
Decimaldesuh-muh l
Decipherdih-sahy-fer
Democracydihmok-ruh-see
Democraticdem-uhkrat-ik
Demographydihmogruh-fee
Denguedeng-gey, -gee
Deodorantdee-oh-der-uhnt
Depotdeepoh, dep-oh
Descentdih-sent
Dessertdihzurt
Detonatedet-n-eyt
Developerdih-veluh-per
Devoteedev-uhtee
Diasporadahy-as-per-uh
Diplomacydih-ploh-muh-see
Diplomaticdip-luhmat-ik
Dispositiondis-puhzishuh n
Divisivedih-vahy-siv
Domesticduhmes-tik
Dominionduhmin-yuh n
Draughtdraft
Droughtdrout

E

WordPronunciation
Eccentricek-sen-trik
Echeloneshuh-lon
Electoralih-lek-ter-uh l
Electricianih-lek-trishuhn
Eloquenteluh-kwuhnt
Emergencyih-mur-juh n-see
Encompassen-kuhm-puh s
Endeavoren-dev-er
Engineen-juhn
Engineeren-juhneer
Envelopeen-vuh-lohp
Epitomeih-pituh-mee
Extravaganzaik-strav-uhgan-zuh

F-G

WordPronunciation
Facilitatefuhsil-i-teyt
Faux Pasfoh pah
Februaryfeb-roo-er-ee
Forensicfuhren-sik
Forgetferget
Frivolousfrivuh-luhs
Genericjuhner-ik
Glovegluhv
Grenadegri-neyd
Guerrillaguhriluh
Gullibleguhluh-buh l

H

WordPronunciation
Handkerchiefhang-ker-chif, -cheef
Handsomehan-suh m
Hazardhaz-erd
Hereditaryhuhred-i-ter-ee
Hippopotamuship-uhpotuh-muhs
Horizonhuhrahy-zuhn
Hotelhoh-tel
Hypnotizehipnuh-tahyz
Hypocrisyhipok-ruh-see

I

WordPronunciation
Ignoranceig-ner-uhns
Improprietyim-pruhprahy-i-tee
Indictin-dahyt
Infamousinfuh-muhs
Infinitein-fuh-nit
Informationin-fermey-shuhn
Ingredientin-gree-dee-uhnt
Innovationin-uhvey-shuhn
Introductionin-truhduhk-shuhn
Introvertin-truh-vurt

J-L

WordPronunciation
Jeopardyjep-er-dee
Jewelleryjoouhl-ree
Kerosenekeruh-seen
Legacyleguh-see
Legitimateli-jituh-meyt
Leprosylepruh-see
Lettucelet-is
Liaisonlee-ey-zuhn/ lee-ey-zawn
Lieutenantloo-tenuhnt

M

WordPronunciation
Magicianmuhjishuh n
Majesticmuhjes-tik
Materializemuhteer-ee-uh-lahyz
Maternalmuhtur-nl
Matrixmey-triks
Medievalmee-dee-ee-vuhl
Melodiousmuhloh-dee-uh s
Melodymeluh-dee
Memorymemuh-ree
Metabolismmuhtabuh-liz-uhm
Metallicmuhtal-ik
Midasmahy-duh s
Miraclemiruh-kuhl
Mischievousmis-chuh-vuhs
Monkmuhngk
Monopolymuhnopuh-lee
Monotonymuhnot-n-ee
Mosquitomuhskee-toh
Moustachemuhs-tash

N-O

WordPronunciation
Nazinaht-see
Neglectni-glekt
Negotiateni-goh-shee-eyt
Nominalnomuh-nl
Nomineenom-uhnee
Novembernoh-vem-ber
Numbnuhm
Objectiveuhb-jek-tiv
Offenduhfend
Officialuhfishuhl
Onionuhn-yuh n
Ovenuhvuhn

P

WordPronunciation
Parameterpuhram-i-ter
Parolepuhrohl
Patheticpuhthet-ik
Pathologypuhtholuh-jee
Patrolpuhtrohl
Peasantpezuh nt
Penaltypen-l-tee
Peripherypuhrifuh-ree
Petitionpuhtishuh n
Petrolpetruh l
Pharmacyfahr-muh-see
Phoneticsfuhnet-iks
Pizzapeet-suh
Policepuhlees
Politicalpuhlit-i-kuhl
Politicianpol-i-tishuh n
Positionpuhzishuh n
Potatopuhtey-toh
Prefacepref-is
Prejudiceprejuh-dis
Preparationprep-uhrey-shuhn
Prepositionprep-uhzishuh n
Procedurepruhseeje
Proceedingpruhsee-ding
Prodigiouspruhdijuh s
Productproduh kt
Productionpruhduhk-shuh n
Professorpruhfes-er
Profoundpruhfound
Promisingpromuh-sing
Pronunciationpruh-nuhn-see-ey-shuhn
Propelpruhpel
Propheticpruhfet-ik
Provocativepruhvokuh-tiv
Pyramidpiruh-mid

R

WordPronunciation
Radarrey-dahr
Rapportra-pohr
Realizationree-uh-luhzey-shuhn
Realmrelm
Receiptri-seet
Reciperesuh-pee
Reciprocaterisipruh-keyt
Refrigeratorrifrijuh-rey-ter
Regimenrejuh-muhn
Renaissanceren-uhsahns
Repealri-peel
Repetitionrep-i-tishuh n
Repetitiveripet-i-tiv
Respectri-spekt
Responsiveri-spon-siv
Restrictionri-strik-shuh n
Rhetoricreter-ik
Roboticsroh-bot-iks

S

WordPronunciation
Sachetsa-shey
Salivasuhlahy-vuh
Salonsuhlon
Schizophreniaskit-suhfree-nee-uh
Sedentarysed-n-ter-ee
Seismicsahyz-mik
Semestersimes-ter
Simplifysim-pluh-fahy
Socialsoh-shuhl
Sophisticatedsuhfis-ti-key-tid
Sponge/ Spongyspuhnj
Sporadicspuhrad-ik
Squirrelskwuruh l
Statisticsstuhtis-tiks
Strategicstruhtee-jik
Succumbsuhkuhm
Suffocatesuhfuh-keyt
Suspicioussuhspishuh s
Syllablesiluh-buhl
Symbolsim-buh l
Symmetrysim-i-tree
Synonymsinuh-nim
Synonymoussi-nonuh-muh s

T

WordPronunciation
Teartair
Technologytek-noluh-jee
Terrifictuhrif-ik
Theorytheeuh-ree
Thoroughthur-oh
Tobaccotuhbak-oh
Tomatotuhmey-toh
Tombtoom
Tortoisetawr-tuh s
Trigonometrytrig-uhnom-i-tree
Tyrannytiruh-nee

V-W

WordPronunciation
Vegetablevej-tuh-buhl, vej-i-tuh
Veterinarianvet-er-uhnair-ee-uh n
Vigilantvijuh-luhnt
Vitaminvahy-tuh-min, vit-uh-min
Voluminousvuhloo-muh-nuh s
Wednesdaywenz-dey
Wizardwiz-erd
Womanwoomuhn
Womenwimin
Wormwurm

Places

PlacePronunciation
Asiaeyzhuh
Bahamasbuhhah-muhz
Boliviabuhliv-ee-uh
Britainbrit-n
Cairokahy-roh
Canneskan
Chilechilee
Columbiakuhluhm-bee-uh
Ecuadorek-wuh-dawr
Israelizreyuhl
Japanesejap-uhneez
Melbournemel-bern
Moroccomuhrok-oh
Namibianuhmib-ee-uh
Netherlandsneth-er-luh ndz
Perupuhroo
Portugalpawrchuh-guhl
Seoulsohl
Singaporesing-guh-pawr
Torontotuhron-toh
Texastek-suh s

UniversityPronunciation
UC Berkleyburk-lee
Oxfordoksferd
Stanfordstan-ferd

BrandPronunciation
Calvin Klein kal-vin kline
Chevrolet shehv-ruh-lay
Christian Diorkris-tee-ahn dee-or
Guccigoo-chee
Lacosteluhkost
Levi’slee-vahyz
Mont Blancmawn blahn
Peugeotp ew sz oh
Porschepor-sha
Renaultreh-no
Tag Heuertag-hoy-yur
Tissottih-soh
Versacevur-sah-chee

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