Commonly Misused Or Mispronounced Words

Misused words or mispronunciation of words can lead to misunderstandings. Here are some examples I have collected through the years. Some are words I have heard spoken; some are words I have seen written; and, of course, some are from friends who know I like this kind of ‘stuff’ 😉.

Commonly Misused Words

“He is so conscience about our responsibility. . .”

  • Should have been “conscious of” or “conscientious about . . .”

“He has a pension for . . .”

  • Should have been a “penchant” for . . .  

“They had a cachet of goods.”

  • Should have used “cache.”
  • Cachet means “style,” as in someone has cachet.
  • Cache is a collection, often used to indicate a hidden collection.

Commonly Mispronounced Words

  • “Modern” pronounced as “modren”
  • “Supposedly” pronounced as “supposably”
  • “Realtor” pronounced “reel-a-tor”

                “It ticks me off so bad when people completely mispronounce my profession. I am a realtor, not a real-a-tor. Where the heck does the “a” come from? When you go to the doctor, do you say I have an appointment with my doc-a-tor?” (from the “Ticked Off” column in Orlando Sentinel, March 4, 2022)

I used to think that people mispronounced words because the incorrect pronunciation was easier to say, like “aks” is easier to say than instead of “ask.” But heck if I can grasp why “reel-a-tor” is easier to say than “realtor”?

Do you have any other examples of commonly misused words or mispronounced words? Maybe I’ll have a contest next year of the best examples, similar to our Funniest Misspelled Online Words. 😂

10 thoughts on “Commonly Misused Or Mispronounced Words”

  1. Another fun one, Barbara!

    Being 6’1 people regularly say “I like your heigth”. Being a bit of a grammar aficionado myself, this drives me nuts.

    • Yikes, Cindi, how do you refrain from correcting folks?! That’s a great example. I’m not sure if the mispronounced version is because people do not know the correct word or, once again, because it’s easier to say?
      And thanks for your playing along with me 😊!

  2. My pet peeve in mispronunciations is when people pronounce the word “nuclear” as “nuc-u-lar.” Like the realtor quoted in the initial post, I wonder where the extra vowel comes from.

    This does remind me of when my kids were little and they mispronounced words all the time. One of my favorite memories is when my son would mispronounce the phrase “excuse me” as “soo-keem.” It still makes me laugh and he is almost 30 years old now with much better pronunciation skills.

        • For some reason, up here in the Florida panhandle, an in-between floor or balcony is a MEZZALINE (not mezzanine)
          I’ve even seen it spelled that way in training manuals and drawings!
          One guy called it a MESCALINE (not sure where his head was at)

          • Funny, funny, funny! I can’t believe that the misspelled version was put in a training manual! I guess the training wasn’t about spelling 😏 . . .
            I especially like that last example (and your editorial) – drugs can do amazing things, eh?

    • Nuc-u-lar! That’s perfect! And maybe more common than reel-a-tor!
      Good point, Laura, about kids providing the best examples.
      p.s. I don’t believe you have a 30-year old son, by the way . . .

  3. Another phrase I have heard misquoted and frankly used to use it incorrectly myself is:

    …for all intents and purposes.

    I thought it was for all “intensive” purposes.

    Also, do you go down the “pike” or the “pipe”?

    • HAHA about “intensive” purposes – that is a useful phrase on its own, I think 😉.

      Same with down the pike versus pipe – I think the expression is coming down the pike, short for turnpike, intended to mean coming soon. But I think down the pipe has a LOT of uses :).


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