Words that make you sound dumb when you use them

Caution: Angry and Hilarious Rant ahead. Beware. Take offense. Adjust your approach to your language.

I have been reeling recently about the amount of words that people say incorrectly, let alone use incorrectly (that’s another blog post). I say that the usage of these words makes you “sound dumb” because when I say that, the people who are guilty look up like prairie dogs from their cubicles to make sure no one is pointing fingers at them. Hopefully, this means they will pay attention to the words falling out from between their sandwich munchers.

Some examples (note: I am not a phonetics Guru, partially because I was rejected from “hookt on Fonix“, and copy/pasting them from Websters would be plagiarism):

The United States President who would say “nuke-u-lar” weapons. It is pronounced “new-clear”, and spelled N-U-C-L-E-A-R. Do you see the words “new” and “clear” in the spelling? Weird how “president” and “precedent” (yes those are two different words that mean different things) came from the same root, maybe that’s why I feel the need to write this post.

The barista who says “Expresso”, not because my local Coffee dive is doing clever marketing about “Fast espresso” but because she probably never stopped to think about it. It is pronounced “Es-press-oh” and spelled E-S-P-R-E-S-S-O, there is no “X” in that word.

Along the same vein as “expresso” you will find people who says “expecially” instead of E-S-P-E-C-I-A-L-L-Y, pronounced “E-special-lee”.

Irregardless of the words above…wait…WTF!? Irregardless? You mean “not-regardless” or “not in spite of everything” or “including everything”? The prefix “ir” means “not” as in “irresponsible use of prefixes”.

Supposebly, it is copacetic to mispronounce “supposedly”. It was cute when your 7yr old figured out how to use this word in a sentence and couldn’t pronounce it because their two front teeth were missing, but it is not cute for you as a grown-ass-adult to keep repeating it. S-U-P-P-O-S-E-D-L-Y is pronounced “Sup-pose-ed-lee”.

This next one I have not noticed before, but I am positive I have heard: “All intensive purposes”. When you use this, do you mean to say that for every intense reason behind whatever you are talking about? Or is this more like that time when you couldn’t figure out the easy level Sudoku puzzle and tuned out the world and showers for a weekend until you got it or cheated?

Speaking of Sudoku, it drives me crazy when people say “Soduko”. S-U-D-O-K-O, pronounced “Sue-dough-koo” – Come on, most of you Americans have done the first part of the phonetic spelling (For the slow people I mean, “most of you have sued someone”).

Update: Chipotle is not: Chi-poat-lee, Chi-poat-a-lay, Chi-poat-ul, Chi-polt-ee. It is Spelled: C-H-I-P-O-T-L-E, please take notice of the order of the letters. The P-O-T is not p-o-l-t. L-E is not t-e-e, or u-l. Please be respectful to an amazing place to eat.

Seriously people take these steps:

  1. Look at the word
  2. Read the word
  3. Spell the word
  4. When you are positive you know what the word it, say the word in trusting company to make sure they don’t laugh
  5. If and only if (this is a definite statement, no possibilities for error) you can go out on the streets and use it all you want.

I make exceptions for people whose primary language (Read: First language) is not English, and children with missing teeth (see “supposebly” above).

Thank you for reading this lesson on the English language, if you have any more you would like to add please leave them in the comments.




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  • http://www.hollyweiker.com holly weiker

    HAHA LOL at the irregardless… one of my old friends used to do that all of the time. We always had a good laugh at her!

  • Monica

    I’m tired of turning a blind eye (or, deaf ear, I suppose) to these. Supporters of real, correctly pronounced and used words…UNITE.;)

    Good call on the exceptions – I can’t bring myself to correct my 5-year-old niece.

    ~m

    • http://www.mkbernier.com Matt Bernier

      Maybe some day I will also do a post about people who write things incorrectly. Even though I am guilty of not spell checking 100%, there are some things that should NEVER be missed because they are not misspelled but in fact poor execution. Specifically: their/they’re/there, to/two/too, we/we’re/were, hear/here…

  • Rachel Smith

    This is funny…can we add ‘aks’ to this list, too? One of my personal pet peeves!

  • http://www.kramerandcompany.com Shelly Kramer

    I love you. Irregardless of the fact that youre (sic) heart belongs to another and exxpecially when you write such stirring prose. Supposebly, and for all intensive purposes, expresso makes a person spell better. But, I wonder if it makes them play a better game of Soduko?

    I heart you, baby.

  • http://tekee.wordpress.com/ Ted

    I try to be as vigilant as you Matt, but I know for sure that I am guilty of “supposebly” even though I know it’s incorrect. Between you, me, and Shelly, we could be a grammafia! We’d be superheros ridding the internet of all grammarical misgivings.

  • http://kiltedchaos.com Alex

    Funny stuff -can i add Bruscetta to your list – theres no H- it’s not Brush-etta 😉

    Somewhat ironic to see an American attacking vocabulary though – since it’s this nation that decided those extra vowels in words was just too much like hard work to spell 😉

    As for me i COULDN’T care less ….. (This was always how it was said back in blighty so therefore it must be the correct way to say it 😉

    • Lauren

      Actually, we revamped the spelling system in order to be culturally independent from Britain. We are very good at spelling/vocabulary, though sometimes I wonder when I see Facebook posts.

  • Rikki

    Wow! I think I’m in love.
    The only thing this list needs is “All of the sudden” I cannot stand when people say this. IT IS SUDDENLY! WHYYYYYYY can no one say suddenly? It’s even shorter than “All of the sudden”
    Thank you for this page!

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