16 words you’ve probably always said incorrectly

The English language is a funny thing. We’ve got words like “so” and “do” that by all rights should rhyme but don’t, and then there are words like “picture” and “pitcher” that are spelled nothing alike but often get confused. It’s easy to mix things up!

Even among the most adept English speakers, commonly mispronounced words run amok. And though singing song lyrics incorrectly is pretty much always hilarious, mispronouncing words — especially if you’re in a job interview or other professional circumstance — is not always a great look.

 So without further ado, we’d like to present a few words that often come out wrong — and how to fix them.

1. Often

Believe it or not, the “t” in “often” is silent, so this word should be pronounced “OFF-in,” not “OFF-tin.”

2. Vice versa

Technically this is a Latin phrase meaning “the other way around,” but the English language has adopted it so we may as well say it correctly. It’s pronounced exactly the way it’s spelled — not “vice-a versa.”

3. Niche

There’s no “t” in this word, so it’s definitely not pronounced “nitch.” Try “neesh” instead.

4. Antarctica

Don’t forget that first “t” or “c”! This word is pronounced ant-ARC-tica, not an-AR-tica.

5. Hyperbole

It definitely looks like “hyper-bowl,” but this word is pronounced “hi-PER-boh-lee.”

6. Picture

It shouldn’t sound like “pitch-uhr,” but like “pick-tchur.”

7. Supposedly

There’s no “b” in this word, so it should sound like “suh-pose-id-ly” not “suh-pose-uh-bly.”

8. Hierarchy

That “er” in the middle is begging to be let out! This word is pronounced “hi-er-ar-key” not “HI-ar-key.”

9. Mauve

This pretty color should sound like “mowv” not “mawv.”


Another pink-brown color that looks like it should sound like “taaaaa-ope,” but it’s actually “tope.” Simple.

11. Nuclear

Despite what former President George W. Bush would have you believe, this word is pronounced “noo-clear,” not “nuke-you-lur.” Drop those unnecessary “u” sounds.

12. Potable

You’ve seen this word used to describe the water flowing from airplane taps: “Not potable.” But did you know it rhymes with “floatable”?

13. Accessory

That first “c” is a hard sound, so this word should be pronounced “ak-sess-sory,” not “ass-ess-ory.”

14. Ticklish

It’s two syllables: “tick-lish” not “tick-uh-lish.”

15. Voluptuous

Many people add an “m” to this word where it doesn’t belong, saying “vol-ump-tuous” instead of the correct “vol-up-tuous.”

16. Respite

You’re going to need some respite after this list, just be sure you say “RES-pit,” not a word that rhymes with “despite.”

What else would YOU add to this list?