Lauren Saccone
June 15, 2017 5:50 pm
NBC

The English language is both a beautiful thing and a massive pain, with a cavalcade of confusing words. One of the most difficult challenges is that of pronunciation. No matter how articulate and well-read you are, odds are there are certain words you just aren’t sure how to pronounce. Well, you’re not alone: pronunciation can be an enormous stressor for many people. Luckily, we’re here to help.

Here are some words people really don’t know how to pronounce, and we’ll let you know the right way to say them.

Cache

Is it “cache” or “cashay?” This is one of the most challenging and hotly debated pronunciation questions out there. The answer, however, is simple: “cache” should rhyme with “rash.” Remember that the next time you drop this word into a conversation.

Acai

Despite the popularity of this super-healthy berry, people seem pretty puzzled over how to say it. The most common mispronunciation sounds like “a-kye.” The correct pronunciation is “a-sigh-ee.” This should make your grocery shopping trips a little less confusing.

Forte

Look, we know it’s tempting to add an “ay” to the end of this word. You have to resist, though; “fort-ay” is incorrect pronunciation. It should sound just like those things you used to build when you were a kid (ideally made out of pillows). Unless, of course, you’re speaking in musical terms — then the pronunciation “fortay” is absolutely correct.

Mauve

This is one of those words that is very misleading. You just pronounce it the way it’s spelled…right? Not so fast. “Mauve” should rhyme with “stove,” despite the fact that there’s no “o” to be seen. Hey, we didn’t make these rules — we’re just trying to follow them.

Niche

Like “cache,” this is another deceptively difficult little word. We often say “niche” so that it rhymes with “rich.” It makes sense, after all. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly correct. Generally speaking, that pronunciation is considered the American version and is not widely accepted outside the United States. When saying “niche,” make sure it rhymes with “leash.” Otherwise, you may confuse the people you’re speaking with (unless they’re mispronouncing the word as well).

Endive

This word is complicated because it has multiple correct pronunciations; it all depends on what version of the vegetable you’re discussing. The leafy green version is pronounced “en-dyve.” The rocket-shaped vegetable, on the other hand, is pronounced “on-deeve.” See? And you doubted the importance of pronunciation.

Nuclear

For some reason the pronunciation “new-kew-lar” has become increasingly prevalent. This is completely incorrect, no matter how often you might hear it. The correct pronunciation is actually “new-klee-ar.”

GIF

Odds are you’ve heard some very passionate debates on the pronunciation of the word GIF, and whether it has a soft or hard “g” sound. The answer is fairly straightforward: the creator of the technology has repeatedly insisted that it’s pronounced “jiff,” with a soft “g” sound. That should be the end of it, but it isn’t. People are so attached to the hard “g” sound in the word that they’ve flagrantly disregarded the pronunciation, sticking to their own version. Both versions are now generally accepted, but if you want to be a stickler for accuracy go with “jiff” instead.

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