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No one likes getting corrected. Still, I often cringe when I hear someone say a word incorrectly. I am also guilty of doing this unthinkable thing, more often than I care to admit. One way to avoid embarrassing mistakes is by articulating words right the first time. These vocabulary words are some of the worst (and most popular) offenders, so no shame if you’ve been saying “GIF” wrong this entire time. Did you know the word mischievous only has three syllables, not four? It’s not ‘mis-CHEEV-ee-us’ – it’s just ‘MIS-chiv-us’. Another great one is Mauve. While most people say ‘mawve,’ the correct pronunciation is actually ‘moave’–as in, rhymes with ‘grove’. The other day I heard someone say ‘mave’. Did you know there is no ‘x’ in espresso? I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say ‘expresso’. Be careful when you are speaking with Europeans, as they may correct you in public. One that annoys me is the word kilometre. It’s not ‘kill-OM-it-er’, it’s actually ‘kill-o-MEET-er’. It’s not ‘PER-aw-gah-tiv’, as so aptly captured by Britney Spears. It’s “PRE-rog-ah-tiv,” like precognition. While “supposably” is a word many people say incorrectly, while they really meaning ‘supposedly’, and it should be pronounced as such. Despite George W. Bush’s efforts to normalize the pronunciation ‘noo-CUL-ur’, the correct pronunciation is, and will forever remain ‘noo-KLEE-ur’. This one you really want to get right, because it can, in fact, make you look silly if you get it wrong. There’s no ‘x at the end of this word. The correct pronunciation is ‘ASS-ter-ISK’, not ‘ASS-ter-IX’. Chances are, your science teacher got it wrong, but your Latin teacher got it right, since Latin is where it comes from. It’s not “LAR-vay.” It’s “LAR-vee” (rhymes with Humvee). Check these out: Most of us add syllables that arn’t there, such as ‘tri-AHT-a-LON’. It’s actually just ‘tri-ATH-lon’. The word is ‘JEW-ell-ree’, not ‘JEWL-ree’. The correct pronunciation here is going to sound crazy, but it’s true: It’s not “zoo-OLL-oh-gee. ‘It’s just ‘ZOO-loh-gee’ (rhymes with ‘eulogy’). Often, in English, there are many words containing silent letters. This one is supposed to be ‘OFF-en’. The ‘t’ is completely silent. You’ve probably been adding an ‘r’ since you were able to swallow sherbet. It’s not ‘SHUR-burt’, it’s ‘SHUR-bet’. When said correctly, it rhymes with ‘curb it’. It turns out, we’ve all been calling the Boston Celtics by the wrong name. Incorrect: ‘SELL-tick’. Correct: ‘KELL-tick’. That delightful Italian dish, of grilled bread with garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes, is not ‘broo-SHET-ah’, it’s ‘broo-SKET-ah’. Most people, when they say ‘liability’, probably include all the right syllables. The same goes for the adjective form which is pronounced ‘li-AH-bull’, not ‘LIE-bull’. So always remember to put the proper em-PHAS-sis on the correct sy-LAH-ble. Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on Rogers TV, the Standard Website or YouTube.


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