You’re Saying It Wrong: A Review

You're Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words--and Their Tangled Histories of MisuseYou’re standing at the podium, approaching the climax of your speech, when you say that word. For the first time. Out loud. Each and every one of us knows the exquisite anxiety of saying aloud a word you’ve only ever read silently to yourself. Thankfully, there’s a snappy little book out there to help take some of the agony out of public speaking: You’re Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words–and Their Tangled Histories of Misuse by Ross and Kathryn Petras.

You’re Saying It Wrong breaks down a heaping handful of commonly mispronounced words and phrases, from acai to zydeco, and throws in lists of difficult-to-read places, celebrities, and fashion designers. Of particular prevalence are British names — Marjoribanks and Featherstonehaugh, anyone? — and anything of French — or assumed-French — origin. The Petras siblings also include etymological histories of each word and phrase, so you’ll never again wonder whether horses first champed or chomped at the bit.

Word nerds form the obvious audience for this little book, but You’re Saying It Wrong has crossover appeal for the socially anxious. After all, no one wants to mispronounce “coitus” in a crowded lecture hall.

Additionally, pedants and their friends will also get a kick out of the Petras siblings’ guide, simply because it may act as a neutral party to — hopefully — put an end to the Great .GIF Debate. And, I must say, it was quite reaffirming to find that I’m on the right side of that fight.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.

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Image Credit: Greg Raines