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You're Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words--and Their Tangled Histories of Misuse Hardcover – September 13, 2016
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". . . the latest book from Ross and Kathryn Petras, a brother-and-sister writing team. . . .[contains] instructions ostensibly designed to make pronunciation a forte. (It’s pronounced “fort,” by the way.) And designed, too, to spare you the particular strain of embarrassment that results when you learn that you have been pretentiously mispronouncing the name of your already-pretentious sparkling water. You’re Saying It Wrong acknowledges that most modern of problems: the fact that so many of us learn words not by hearing them, but by reading them."
-- The Atlantic
". . . the small tome packs 150 of the most irritating words American-English speakers fail to get right. From gourmet terms borrowed from French to colloquialisms born in the United States to the names of characters endemic to H. P. Lovecraft’s fictional universes (admit it, you’ve always wanted to know how to pronounce Cthulhu), they help readers master both the perplexing and perplexingly simple expressions that make ordering braised endive anxiety-inducing."
-- The Huffington Post
". . . The best way to consume this book is in a room full of people who are from different parts of the country and have good senses of humor. Ask them how they pronounce each word that doesn’t seem obvious. Let the frustration and laughter and discussion ensue."
-- The Awl
About the Author
ROSS PETRAS and KATHRYN PETRAS are the authors of the #1 best-selling page-a-day calendar The 365 Stupidest Things Ever Said (now in its 21st year with over 4.5 million copies sold), Wretched Writing, It Always Seems Impossible Until It's Done, The Anthology of Really Important Modern Poetry, and more. Their work has received the attention of personalities like David Brinkley and Howard Stern and media outlets including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Cosmopolitan, Washington Post, Huffington Post, and the London Times. They have appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows including Good Morning America, CNN, and Fox and Friends.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author uses humor, puns and word play along with a broad knowledge of language history to make the book fascinating. The words are in alphabetical order. The word that surprised me the most as being mispronounced frequently was “anyway”; according to the authors many people say “anyways”. The book will make a good addition to my reference library.
The book is 172 pages and was published on September 13, 2016. I read this using my Kindle app on my iPad.
For word nerds, you probably will find about 25% of the book revealing, as you undoubtedly know the pronunciation of many of the entries. But there is value in knowing you've been right all along. And, most of the entries have interesting historical or etymologic notes that make them entertaining and educational, even if you already know how to pronounce the word. You may already know that geoduck is pronounced GOO-ee-duhk, but the salacious origin of the word may have escaped you.
For normal folks, are you tired of not knowing if the file extension .GIF is spoken GIFF or JIFF? Problem solved. Want to avoid embarrassment on a trip to NY City? Learn why "Houston" is not pronounced as in Texas (HEWS-tun) but HOUSE-ten. Bump up your vocabulary from "lazy" to "lackadaisical" and say it correctly (in other words, do NOT say LAX-uh-day-zi-cal). Some words you will rarely encounter; others you will encounter all the time. All share the connection that they are commonly mispronounced. Some examples are: asterisk, boatswain, bruschetta, claddagh, crudites, Dr. Seuss (not Dr. SOOSE after all), draught, haute couture, poinsettia, prerogative, Thames, Tolkien, Wednesday, and yarmulke. You'll learn how to say gyro correctly when you order one. And for those with a supernatural bent, there is an entry on the pronunciation of H.P. Lovecraft's lovechild, Cthulhu.
The book goes beyond individual words and includes some commonly misspoken phrases such as "I could care less" and "daylight saving time" (often misstated as "daylight savings time"). There are sidebars such as "How to sound like you're from across the pond" (British English pronunciations) and "How to sound like a gourmet" that are fun to read.
In sum, a nice little book that will help those who wish to make proper pronunciation their forte. (Which, by the way, is pronounced FORT, not for-TAY. Who knew???)
The book is alphabetical and contains words that I didn't even know I was mispronouncing, such as "bruschetta" and "spit and image" (I always say "spitting image")!! As you can see, it also includes phrases. The book even contains some names, such as "Thames" and "Beijing". Also, sprinkled throughout the pages are lists such as British names, names of authors, and names of wines.
I absolutely love this book. Any writers, readers, and word lovers out there NEED this book in their lives! I highly recommend it!
Thank you to the publisher for a copy of the book.