Common Mistakes In English That Might Embarrass You

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mrnicholas1986mrnicholas1986 Posts: 122Administrator, Moderator


There are many commonly misused, misspelled, and mispronounced words in English. I will try to mention, to the best of my knowledge and experience, the most commonly abused words here.

HEARING: The word HEAR is a verb. The incorrect use of hearing is usually over phone communication for example “I am not hearing you’’ This is wrong. The correct way to say this is: “I cannot hear you’’

There are legal uses of the word though. There is the noun hearing which means the ability to perceive sounds. e.g. There are people who have very acute hearing.

Also, another noun form of hearing means an opportunity to state one’s case e.g. I think I had a fair hearing in court.

ATE: As we all know, ate is the past tense of eat. The problem with this word for most people is not so much in the use as in the pronunciation.

Very many people pronounce the word as “ETE’’ as in TETE, whatever that means.

The correct pronunciation of this word is ATE as in HATE without the “H’’

It might be embarrassing to mispronounce this simple word in public.

REVERT: Haven’t we all seen it in email correspondences, “Please Revert’’ or in some cases, “Revert Back’’.

Contrary to what many think, revert doesn’t mean reply.

Revert means return to (a previous state, practice etc.) For example, “You look so much better now that you are on a diet; please don’t revert to eating junk food’’.

If revert is used correctly as above, it would suffice on its own and not require the inclusion of “Back’’ as in “Revert back’’ as this would be redundancy.

MISCHIEVOUS: When someone is full of mischief, that person is said to be mischievous. People know this already but the problem with this word is the pronunciation.

The word is pronounced MIS-CHIEVIOUS by many. Blink and you miss it. Did you spot the difference? Yes, the letter “I’’. There is no letter “I’’ after the letter “V’’ and there isn’t supposed to be one, not in the spelling and definitely not in the pronunciation

DEFINITELY: Definitely means beyond doubt. The problem with this word for many is not in the usage or the spelling, but like in the previous word, the problem is in the pronunciation.

This word is pronounced by many as DEF-I-NATE-LY.

It should instead be pronounced as it is written. DEF-I-NITE-LY

PRONUNCIATION: This list would not be complete without this commonly mispronounced word. (No pun intended)

Pronounce is a verb and the noun form of it is pronunciation.

I believe the origin of the problem with this word is the disparity in the spelling of the verb and the noun.

Many people already know the word pronounce and they know how to spell it, so they probably just apply the modification from pronounce to pronounciation directly which is wrong. The correct spelling does not have the second “O’’.

The correct spelling and pronunciation is PRO-NUN-CI-A-TION. I reiterate, no pun intended.

So, to avoid embarrassment, please take note of these words and correct yourself appropriately.

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