Most commonly mispronounced words

by IELTS — May 10th, 2017

You know the word but stop yourself from saying it out loud for fear of pronouncing it wrongly. This predicament is relatable as we all have mishaps over the complexities of the English language now and then even native speakers.

There is nothing to be embarrassed by, as language is forever evolving and mispronounced. Misspelled words often find their way into our world, making it increasingly tough to know what is right and wrong. Let’s admit it, speaking can be deceiving, and there are some particularly hard words to pronounce, especially if it’s in a language that is not your mother tongue.

That got us thinking and we decided to start our own “pronunciation” series and list the most commonly mispronounced words. The list provides a good start to help you articulate and learn how to pronounce words correctly and may be a useful tool for your IELTS Speaking test.

Abalone
  • Incorrect: ah-boh-lohn
  • Correct: ab-uh-loh-nee
Acai
  • Incorrect: ack-ai
  • Correct: ah-sigh-ee
Accessory
  • Incorrect: ah-seh-suh-ree
  • Correct: uhk-seh-suh-ree
Albeit
  • Incorrect: al-bae-it
  • Correct: awl-bee-it
Almond
  • Incorrect: al-muh-nd
  • Correct: ah-muh-nd
Asterick
  • Incorrect: a-stuh-reek
  • Correct: a-stuh-ruhsk
Athlete
  • Incorrect: ath-a-leet
  • Correct: ath-leet
Attaché
  • Incorrect: ah-tat-chee
  • Correct: uh-tash-ey
Boutique
  • Incorrect: boh-teek
  • Correct: boo-teek
Cache
  • Incorrect: kash-ay
  • Correct: kash
Business
  • Incorrect: bis-ee-nuhs
  • Correct: biz-nuhs
Calvary
  • Incorrect: kal-veuh-ree
  • Correct: ka-vuhl-ree
Candidate
  • Incorrect: kan-dee-deit
  • Correct: kan-duh-duht
Chaos
  • Incorrect: Cha-os
  • Correct: Key-os
Chimera
  • Incorrect: chim-er-a
  • Correct: kiy-meer-a
Coup
  • Incorrect: koo-p
  • Correct: koo
Coupon
  • Incorrect: que-pun
  • Correct: koo-pon
Cupboard
  • Incorrect: cup-bawd
  • Correct: kuh-buhd
Cupboard
  • Incorrect: cup-bawd
  • Correct: kuh-buhd
Debris
  • Incorrect: day-brees
  • Correct: deb-ree
Debut
  • Incorrect: di-boo
  • Correct: dey-byoo
Definitely
  • Incorrect: duh-fai-uhnt-lee
  • Correct: deh-fuh-nuht-lee
Dilate
  • Incorrect: dai-ah-leit
  • Correct: dai-leit
Divorce
  • Incorrect: die-vawrs
  • Correct: dih-vawrs
Epitome
  • Incorrect: ih-pi-toe-m
  • Correct: ih-pit-uh-mee
Espresso
  • Incorrect: e-xpres-oh
  • Correct: e-spres-oh
Et cetera
  • Incorrect: ex-set-er-uh
  • Correct: et-set-er-uh
Faux pas
  • Incorrect: fohx-pas
  • Correct: foh-pah
Federal
  • Incorrect: feh-druhl
  • Correct: feh-duh-ruhl
Film
  • Incorrect: fill-um
  • Correct: film
Flour
  • Incorrect: fl-ahr
  • Correct: flou-er
Gauge
  • Incorrect: gauj
  • Correct: geyj
Genre
  • Incorrect: jen-re
  • Correct: zhahn-ruh
Heinous
  • Incorrect: heen-ni-us
  • Correct: hey-nuh-s
Hierarchy
  • Incorrect: hahy-archy
  • Correct: hahy-uh-rahr-kee
Hyperbole
  • Incorrect: hahy-pur-bowl
  • Correct: hahy-pur-buh-lee
Ingenuity
  • Incorrect: in-jen-wee-tee
  • Correct: in-juh-noo-i-tee
Itinerary
  • Incorrect: ahy-tin-ary
  • Correct: ahy-tin-uh-rer-ee
Jewellery
  • Incorrect: joo-el-er-y
  • Correct: joo-uh l-ree
Library
  • Incorrect: libe-ry
  • Correct: lahy-brer ee
Lingerie
  • Incorrect: linger-ee
  • Correct: lahn-zhuh-rey
Lip-sync
  • Incorrect: lip-sing
  • Correct: lip-singk
Maniac
  • Incorrect: mahn-yuhk
  • Correct: mey-nee-ak
Mauve
  • Incorrect: mah-owv
  • Correct: mowv
Mischievous
  • Incorrect: mis-chee-vious
  • Correct: mis-chuh-vuh-s
Niche
  • Incorrect: nee-shay
  • Correct: nee-sh
Nuclear
  • Incorrect: noo-kyu-lur
  • Correct: noo-klee-ur
Often
  • Incorrect: off-ten
  • Correct: aw-fuh n
Paradigm
  • Incorrect: par-uh-dig-m
  • Correct: par-uh-dahym
Probably
  • Incorrect: pro-blee
  • Correct: pro-buh-blee
Pronunciation
  • Incorrect: pruh-noun-see-ey-shuh n
  • Correct: pruh-nuhn-see-ey-shuh n
Pseudonym
  • Incorrect: syoo-duh-nim
  • Correct: sood-n-im
Quinoa
  • Incorrect: kee-no-ah
  • Correct: keen-waa
Quote
  • Incorrect: coat
  • Correct: kwoht
Regime
  • Incorrect: ruh-geem
  • Correct: ruh-zheem
Rendezvous
  • Incorrect: ren-dez-vuss
  • Correct: rahn-duh-voo
Reservoir
  • Incorrect: rez-er-vore
  • Correct: rez-er-vwahr
Salmon
  • Incorrect: sal-muhn
  • Correct: sam-uh n
Salon
  • Incorrect: suh-loon
  • Correct: suh-lon
Silicon
  • Incorrect: sil-i-kohn
  • Correct: sil-i-kuh n
Sour
  • Incorrect: saa-r
  • Correct: souuh-r
Stomach
  • Incorrect: stoh-match
  • Correct: stuh-muhk
Subtle
  • Incorrect: subt-l
  • Correct: suht-l
Supposedly
  • Incorrect: su-pos-ab-lee
  • Correct: su-pos-ed-lee
Suite
  • Incorrect: soot
  • Correct: sweet
Tuition
  • Incorrect: too-shen
  • Correct: too-ish-uh n
Turquoise
  • Incorrect: tur-quiz
  • Correct: tur-kwoiz
Wednesday
  • Incorrect: wehd-nez-dei
  • Correct: wenz-dei
Yolk
  • Incorrect: yol-ke
  • Correct: yohk

Reference: Dictionary.com

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