21 English Words That You Might Have Been Pronouncing Wrongly

English is the lingua-franca of the World and it is important to get your pronunciation right in other for people from other countries to understand you. As we are in Singapore, it is good to get yourself familiarise with the correct British pronunciation of certain words. There are words that we tend to read it as it is when it’s actually not, and there are also words that we tend to read it as some other words when the pronunciation is rather obvious.

So here’s a list of 21 words that most people, including myself, have been pronouncing wrongly since the day we started speaking.

1. PRONOUNCE/PRONUNCIATION
Since we are talking about pronunciation here, let’s get the keyword right from the first place. While the word ‘pronounce’ is pronounced as ‘pro-nounce’ (that’s really direct, doesn’t it?), the word ‘pronunciation’ tend to cause some confusion. The noun form of ‘pronounce’ is spelt differently (notice that they dropped the ‘o’?). Hence, it read it as ‘pro-nun-ci-a-tion’. Read it as how it is spelt.

2. ETC. / ET CETERA
Many people in Singapore, as much as I am hearing, mispronounce the longer formed of ‘etc.’ as es-se-tra. Of course, it should have been et cetera. Apparently, we are too lazy to read out the 4 syllabus word that we shortened it to just three.

3. PARLIAMENT

(Image: theolinecitizen)

A parliament is probably the most boring productive place in the nation where parliamentarians from different political parties come together to engage in serious political mudslinging debates over national issues. The English language is kind of confusing when it comes to this, while we tend to decrease the syllables in words like ‘et cetera’, there are times that we get too conscious over our pronunciation that we actually very single syllabus that we think the word contains.

The word ‘Parliament’ is often read as ‘par-li-a-ment’. But, well, it should be read as ‘par-li-ment’. Probably whoever who derived the word realised that they doesn’t really deserves the ‘A’. Just kidding.

4. COMB

(Image: findhealthtips)

Something that we use as much as we get it pronounced wrongly. “Hey, do you have a comb? I need to comb my hair.” Many of us, including myself and the Americans, tend to pronounce words like this literally. We mispronounced it as ‘com-b’ – as in the ‘comb’ from the word ‘combination’. (Of course, it’s considered a correct alternative pronunciation if you are coming from somewhere where American English is preferred.) The actual and of course the British way of pronouncing ‘comb’ is ‘keum’ as in ‘womb’.

I swear English itself is confusing enough, and we really need not British English and American English to further complicate things.

5. PICTURE

(Image: enkivillage)

“Could you help us take a picture?”

Often, we pronounce it as ‘peek-ture’. Not sure what you are peeking at while taking a picture, but the actual pronunciation is in fact ‘pik-cher’. Don’t drag the ‘i’, just make it short and simple, just like you just press your shutter once to take a picture.

6. PHOTOGRAPHY
Another word that has always been mispronounced by almost everyone. The ‘photo-‘ in the word ‘photography’ doesn’t sound the same as the word ‘photo’ when it is left alone. It’s not ‘pho-to-gra-phy’ but instead it’s ‘fhe-tog-ra-phy’.

Told you English is confusing.

7. SUITE

(Image: Wynn Las Vegas)

No, it’s definitely not pronounced as ‘suit’. Repeat it after me, “sweet’. Yes, they rhyme. Well, apparently they think that being in a suite is the most sweetest feeling ever. Must be.

8. ACCESSORY
Those things that we put on our necks or wrists for decorative proposes? Yup, that’s accessories. As much as we love wearing them, I mean er… most of us would love to have some accessories worn together with your outfit of the day, we tend to shout out the wrong pronunciation for this word.

“Dear, do you have the asses-so-ry?”
This pronunciation probably requires some assessment. It should be pronounced as ‘ac-cess-se-ry’. Well, I didn’t know I was pronouncing it wrongly when I realised that there’s no such word as ‘assessory’.

Sometimes, you got to pronounce how it is written.
Of course, sometimes, you don’t.

9. ATHLETE

(Image: Big Box Training)


Before you start commenting on how your friend has an ‘athlete leg’, get familiarised with the pronunciation first before you get, er hmm, checkmate. We tend to read it as ‘at-the-lic’ which sounded right, but wrong. If we look closely enough, you’ll notice that there’s no ‘e’ after the letter ‘h’ in the word. It’s ‘athlete’ and not ‘atheletic’.

Not sure how and why we kept seeing it as ‘atheletic’. Pronounce it as ‘ath-lit’ and you are ready to go.

10. ALMOND


While there are actually two ways of pronouncing it, just like the word ‘comb’: the British way and the American way. That pretty much sums up how the Brits and the Americans are often at odds with one another. For countries who are using the British English, or I call it the more traditional version of English, the ‘l’ in the word ‘almond’ is silent.

Therefore, do pronounce it as ‘ar-mond’. Like how you say it after every prayer before your meals.

11. SWORD
I still remember how I was reprimand for pronouncing the word wrongly back in Primary School. As how it is being spelt, we tend to read it as ‘s-word’. But too bad, it shouldn’t be read that way. The ‘w’ in silent here, just like how the ‘l’ is silent in ‘almond’, as previously mentioned. Read it as ‘sord’, my fellow friends. At least your friend will probably get the correct weapon for you during a fight.

12. PIZZA

(Image: thickslicepizza)

The most delicious thing to appear in this list. We all love pizza, don’t we? But we love pronouncing it wrongly too. We’ve been calling it ‘pis-sa’ but actually it’s ‘pitz-za’.

Forget it and just enjoy your pizza.

13. QUOTE
I don’t know why, but some people tend to pronounce it as ‘cote’. Just remember to pronounce the ‘u’ and you’ll be fine.

14. POLICE

(Image: cosmolife)

“Eh, you don’t anyhow uh! I call the poo-lice uh!”
“Eh, you sign on poo-lice uh?”

I know sometimes being an uniformed officer can be a shit job but there’s no need to say that you are a poo-lice. It is not poo-lice but per-lice.

15. COCOA
A word that I, myself, have been pronouncing wrongly for the past decade or so. I read it as ‘co-cua’ while some others read it as ‘co-co-a’, which are both wrong. Forget the ‘a’ and read it as ‘co-co’.

Now let me make myself a cup of hot ‘co-co’ before continue on with the list.

16. PLUMBER

(Image: raghukaka)

What do you call when you need someone to fix your sewage system for you? The plumber. That’s right. Not the ‘plum-ber’ but the ‘plum-er’. God knows why the ‘b’ is silent, probably it went down the drain.

17. FEBRUARY
A word that we tend to forget that there’s actually 2 ‘R’s in the word. Most of us tend to read it as ‘Fe-bu-a-ry’. For this, don’t miss out on any of the letters, pronounce the ‘R’s. Hence, it should be read it as ‘Fe-bru-a-ry’. It’s okay if you are struggling with it, because me too. TEEHEE

18. WEDNESDAY
Many people look forward to this day because it’s an indication of mid-week and that means that you are halfway through your week and the weekend is coming in a couple of day’s time.

Wed-nes-day. That’s all how most of us read it as. But too bad, the Brits decided that since there’s only two more days to the weekend, they decided to read it as a two-syllable word instead of a three-syllable word. Therefore, it’s just ‘wenz-day’. They simply just combined ‘wednes’ into a syllabus. Well done, English.

19. CACHE
For all you computer geeks out there, this word will not be stranger to you. For those who don’t know what’s cache is all about, it’s a part of the computer memory where informations are stored temporarily.

You may not understand how it works, but you’ll most probably love its actual pronunciation. It’s not anything close to ‘ca-che’. You’ll have to read is as ‘kash’, yes, somewhat like ‘cash’. Now, isn’t it easier to get it into your mind because it sounded like something you need it most?

Maybe that’s why my cash is always stored temporarily in my wallet. It’s gone almost immediately.

20. CHAOS
For most Chinese, we tend to read this as how it looks like, simply ‘chaos’, because that’s how we read it in Chinese. As if English pronunciation doesn’t create much of a chaos (remember this word has to be spelt with an ‘s’), they decided to pronounce it as ‘kay-yors’.

Sometimes I wonder how linguist gets to get everything right.

21. ANTARCTICA

(Image: bootsnall)

I will probably live there if I wasn’t afraid of the cold was given a chance to. It’s a very beautiful place because there is basically little or no humans and human activities. There are more people pronouncing ‘Antarctica’ wrong than the among of people actually working there. We mis-pronounced it as ‘An-tar-ti-ca’. This is because we clearly don’t realised that ‘Antarctica’ is made up of ‘anti’ and ‘Arctica’, which when combined, means the opposite of the Arctic land.

Hence for that, ‘Antarctica’ should be pronounced as ‘Ant-arc-ti-ca’.

BONUS: LEICESTER

(Image: Paul Carroll)

Although this might not be a legit English word but this is for those football fans who are amazed by the sudden rise of Leicester City. As much as the name of this Leicestershire-based club is being mentioned almost everywhere – from workplaces to the pubs – it seems like everyone has been pronouncing their name wrongly. I was guilty of the pronunciation too. The city where it is based in is not pronounced as ‘Lei-chester’ but ‘Leis-ter’ as in ‘Lester’. Probably your friend named Lester might suspect if his name was actually spelled as ‘Leicester’.

Ok. That’ll be weird.

When Cats Rule The Island: The Journey to St. John’s

Just finished with my last assignment this morning, that means that I am coming back to blogging like a finally! Before I post an update, I would like to wish everyone Happy Chinese New Year! May the huat be with you!

On the morning of 29th January, 2016, I embarked on a journey to one of the southern outlaying islands in Singapore – St. John’s Island! St. John Island, formerly known as Pulau Sekijang Bendara (which probably means One Barking Deer and Flag Island — does that even make sense? HAHA) is located some 6.5km off the shores of mainland Singapore.

It was formerly used by the Straits administration as a site of quarantine for immigrants coming to Singapore who were suspected of cholera in the late 19th century. It can be accessible via a ferry departing from Marina South Pier. It was the site where Sir Stamford Raffles and his men were at before they met with the Malay chief of Singapore in 1819. In the early 20th century, victims of beri-beri were also brought to the island. By 1930s, the island gained international recognition as a quarantine centre screening Asian immigrants and pilgrims returning from Mecca. The island was used to house rehabilitation centre when mass immigration is closed in the mid-20th century.

In 1975, the island was transformed into a tranquil gateway with swimming lagoons, beaches, picnic areas, trekking routes and football fields.

It used to be rather difficult to travel to the pier since it was relocated from Clifford Pier in 2006. However, with the construction and opening of the Marina South Pier MRT Station in 2014, travelling to the southern islands become much more convenient.

A group of birdsman (basically this term is used to describe my group members, so just in case you were wondering what this is HAHA) were on their way to conduce location reconnaissance for their project. We bought the ticket for $18 each and were on the way to adventure and exploration.

After half-an-hour of safe and peaceful nauseous ride to the island, we finally reached our destination. You could never understand how glad I was when I saw that we were approaching the pier. As safe as the entire boat ride was, people with motion sickness like myself tend to feel giddy and nauseous. I felt that I was more like on board a cruiser that had just been hit by a torpedo. I thank myself for not having breakfast that morning, if not I would really have vomited on the freaking boat.

St. John Island looks kind of huge and it is connected to nearby Lazarus Island and Pulau Seringat by a bridge.

(Image: messier92)

The island, far away from civilisation, is indeed peaceful. It gives everyone a sense of nature and peace.

At St. John’s Island, there is a holiday camp for those who would like to have an overnight stay. The holiday camp can cater to 60 people which means that you could probably jio your entire class or even cohort and shut them within the island have a short getaway from civilisation. There are also holiday bungalows around the island which can accommodate up to 10 people. Hence, for those of you who just need small place to stay over on the island, the bungalows are just catered for you!

But not sure if it’s on purpose that most of the bungalows there looks more like some houses coming out directly from a 1950s horror film. And ya, that makes everything more scary. Legends had it that the island is haunted so ya, welcome if you feel that no other horror movies could excite you anymore and are looking for adventures at night.

Alright, jokes aside. I really love this place despite the eerie feelings that these houses brought me. People have been overlooking the importance of nature and instead spent too much time surrounded by forest of skyscrapers. Other than the nature aspect, I enjoyed how this place gives people some sort of kampung feel, the kind of feel that is gradually missing out in Singaporeans’ life since the fast pace of life catches up with us and everyone decided to be too busy to even communicate with their neighbours.

We continued on with our journey and eventually located the Holiday Camp. Just take a look at the office, you might actually doubt if you had actually time travelled to the past. It looks like time has stopped 40 years ago in the island.

Our leader, Sijie, leading the way.

Shihui and Yingxuan peeking in to check out how the office looks like.

The office just look like those you see from the 1980s SBC drama series.

Sometimes, I regretted not being able to come to this world earlier, so that I could explore the fun of being a kampung kid. Life might be tough but it used to be much simpler and carefree. Just take a look at the surrounding. I could imagine how life was like back then.

As we left the office, we walked further up ahead. There was nothing but trees and trees. And then, we saw a signage stating “Tropical Marine Science Institute, Marine Aquaculture Centre”. Looks like people are actually setting up research labs in the island to study marine life.

Yingxuan’s looking at the exhibit at the Marine Aquaculture Centre.

Just look at the reef that could be found around St. John Island and Sisters Islands.

We took a break at the Aquaculture Centre because it’s probably the only place in the island with air-conditional. We were like so happy when we realised the existence of an aircon room.

After the break, we walked back and travelled down to Lazarus Island. Well, along the way there we encounter some fluffy animals that looks extremely cute.

The amount of cats there are so high that we encountered like at least 20 of them throughout our journey. Of course, the SPCA had came to sterilize the cats between 2011 to 2014 to control the population of cats there on the island. If not, we might probably be chased around by cats instead.

I am sure the link bridge to Lazarus and Lazarus Island itself belongs to paradise. The clear blue waters from the sea and the green forest surrounding the area makes it look like the best place on Earth to be in right now. There were little pollutions and everything looked prehistoric. We were all mesmerised by the surroundings that we spent whole lots of time taking photos. HAHAHA

Iphi maciam model like that HAHA

Step emo.

Say cheese! 
Tips to great photography, as demonstrated by Sijie.

And of course, photo of the Day.

Got the 《那些年》feel, 有没有?

By 2.30pm, we had to leave the island because the second and final ferry to the island would be departing at around 2.45pm. We would not like to be stranded here alone throughout the night with no place to sleep uh! HAHAHA

I know I will return back to this island one day to, well, escape from reality.