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Friday, April 18, 2008

Commonly Mispronounced Words - On the News and Everywhere

While watching some news clips today, I found several instances of the newscasters mispronouncing words. The words were all among the most commonly mispronounced words in America. These words and phrases also show up in writing.

In the case of some phrases or words, it is easy to understand the mistake. One commonly mispronounced phrase is 'Card Sharks' which is incorrect. The correct phrase is 'Card Sharp', which is a phrase I have never heard. I have always heard this phrase incorrectly used with the word 'shark' instead of 'sharp'. has some interesting history on this conflict.

As I reviewed the lists today to check my own speaking and writing, I found one in particular of which I am guilty:

'Chomp at the bit' is WRONG. The phrase in its correct form is 'champ at the bit'. However, with how commonly this phrase is misspoken, the incorrect version is becoming more commonly accepted and does appear in some dictionaries.

One that I hear constantly that is like nails on a chalkboard to me is "Old-timers Disease". There is no such thing. The correct name of the disease is "Alzheimer's Disease".

Want to check yourself? The following links will give you more information regarding proper pronunciation and proper phrases for better speaking and writing, along with the history of my troublesome phrases. Though some of the words make all the lists below, there are some words unique to each list, too.

100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English from YourDictionary.Com

Fun with Words: Commonly Mispronounced Words by Rinkworks (includes pronunciation guide)

Do You Speak American? Beastly Mispronunciations from PBS.ORG website

Commonly Mispronounced Words at

Card Sharp vs. Card Shark at

Champ at the bit vs. Chomp at the bit on The Grammarphobia blog

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