Believe it or not, native English speakers are fans of using these commonly mispronounced (say out loud but incorrectly) words more often than you’d think. Whether it is due to the evolution of the language itself, or maybe just laziness on the part of the speaker, the pronunciation of these words is generally heard differently than it should be.

Do you speak English better than a native? If you pronounce these words properly (correctly), you just may!


  • Commonly mispronounced word: [JEWL-ree]
  • Correct pronunciation: [JEW-el-ree]

Jewelry is what we wear to adorn ourselves, whether with bracelets, earrings, necklaces, or rings. Jewelry has often been a status symbol, and therefore, encrusted with jewels. The name makes a lot more sense now, doesn’t it? Just make sure to not drop that second syllable!


  • Commonly mispronounced word: [mis-CHEEV-ee-us]
  • Correct pronunciation: [MIS-chiv-us]

Unlike with jewelry, we tend to add a syllable that isn’t there when it comes to the word mischievous. Mischievous means to act up or to cause minor trouble (think of Harry Potter getting into little problems), and can cause (be the reason for) quite a bit of mischief when you’re trying to pronounce it. All it will take to say it correctly is a bit of practice!


  • Commonly mispronounced word: [gif]
  • Correct pronunciation: [jif]

If I may be allowed to like my incorrect version better…. GIF is one where I tend to disagree completely with the man who invented the word. But, he says the proper pronunciation is [jif].

However, I do tend (likely to do something) to send a lot of GIFs to friends and family, and especially to my partner, so it only makes sense to pronounce the word properly. How do you think it should be said? (Are we allowed to have an opinion??)

In the meantime, check out our blog on the hard and soft G pronunciation to find out why I think it should be pronounced [gif].


  • Commonly mispronounced word: [kil-OM-it-er]
  • Correct pronunciation: [kil-o-MEET-er]

If you know about the metric system, the correct pronunciation should make sense, but as someone who grew up firmly with the imperial system, I guess some things are just beyond my grasp (understanding, holding of a concept).

The correct pronunciation of kilometer should sound close to the pronunciation of meter, and not like you’re doing yoga- “Om…”


  • Commonly mispronounced word: [eye-KEE-a]
  • Correct pronunciation: [ee-KAY-a]

The Germans and Swedes have got us beat on this one, folks, I’m sorry to say. While Americans might like shopping at [eye-KEE-a] for flat pack furniture, Europeans, and especially Swedes (and the founders), prefer to shop at the correctly pronounced [ee-KAY-a].

However you pronounce it, I at least, always have to stop for some meatballs whenever I’m at IKEA.

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Do you know of any commonly mispronounced words in English? Share them with us in the comments below, and maybe we’ll include them in a future blog!

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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher,  yoga instructor, and isn’t sure she’ll be saying kil-o-ME-ter any time soon!!

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