Common Mistakes: Confused words

March 15, 2007: Issue 181

Incorrect pronunciation often leads to incorrect spelling. Here are some words that are commonly said and spelled wrong:
espresso There’s no x sound, and there’s no x.
chipotle The t comes before the l.
masonry Three syllables. It’s not “masonary.”
mischievous There’s an i in the second syllable, not the third. Think of the root word mischief.
triathlon Three syllables. Don’t try to throw an extra a in there.
verbiage Also three syllables. Don’t forget about that i.

And then there are these words that are usually spelled right but often pronounced wrong:
Realtor Two syllables. Rhymes (roughly) with “kneel, sir.”
jewelry The l sound ends the second syllable, not the first.
nuclear It’s pronounced NEW-klee-uhr. Get it right or you’ll sound like that inarticulate, misguided buffoon Homer J. Simpson.

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