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100 Words Almost Everyone Mispronounces
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
"100 Words Almost Everyone Mispronounces," from the editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries, will be of interest mostly to English teachers, librarians, and others who are meticulous about language. In an age of email and text messaging, correct spelling and pronunciation are becoming increasingly uncommon. The words listed in this book range from the frequently used--such as almond, divisive, harass, and forte--to such uncommon words as antipodes, desuetude, hegemony, and quietus.

This ninth entry in the "100 Words" series contains clearly written definitions, sample sentences, detailed etymologies, and intriguing explanations of how and why a word's pronunciation may change over time. Sometimes, there is no obvious reason for such a change. For example, the word "flaccid" ("lacking firmness, resilience, or muscle tone") used to be pronounced "flaksid," with a "k" sound from the word's Latin derivation. No one knows precisely when or why speakers began to say the double c sound as if it were an s, but now flaccid is commonly pronounced "flasid." Even highly educated readers may be surprised at the correct pronunciation of such words as "detritus" and "puerile," and they will also gain insight into the connection between a word's language of origin and its pronunciation.

Whether you are interested in words for professional reasons, wish to sound more erudite, or are just curious about the vagaries of the English language, this slim and sometimes humorous volume provides entertainment, clearly written and accurate information, and a glimpse into how words have evolved over the centuries. In fact, the editors assure us that "pronunciation is not a matter of absolute authenticity but of broad consensus," so today's mistake may become tomorrow's standard pronunciation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
What a cool book! I love improving my blind spots before I blunder in public. Who doesn't think that chaise longue is pronounced as in "lounge"? Luckily, gyro can be your "hero." And err rhymes with fur, not to be pronounced like "air." There is a good pronunciation guide in the book, but even with its help I still trip over saying "puerile" correctly. So this short volume (120 pages) offers the reader a voyage of discovery and practice. Most of us don't care about Xhosa, but there is some sexual terminology included that would sound awkward if misused.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this book for my husband for Christmas. He really likes things like this, but I wasn't sure if he would like this one. He LOVED it! As soon as he opened it he was laughing.
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on February 7, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I just don't remember the symbols in the dictionary anymore, so I thought this would be a simple way to learn how to pronounce those pesky words.
I was kind of hoping for phonetic spelling after each word, which this book does not have.
Maybe this book was meant to just tell you the words people mispronounce and nothing more. ; )
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on December 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
Very brief and to the point, which makes it a great stocking stuffer for word mavens -- particularly those who need to be taken down a peg or two. But a three stars rather than four, since some of the words they cite don't seem to me to be that widely mispronounced.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
How one pronounces words can make a big difference - and 100 words people are most likely to mispronounce are featured in a survey of common pronunciation controversies. Presented in a small pocket-sized format, 100 Words Almost Everyone Mispronounces is a winner.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I was looking forward to enlarging my oral vocabulary but I knew 99% of these words. Who doesn't know how to say "pace" or "nuclear"? Also, many of these words aren't used at all anymore.
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0 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is unenlightening. It covers words everyone should know and is not worth the 15 minutes it took to scan.
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