Commonly Mispronounced Words

“Pertection” Is that like “Protection?”

How Many of These Words Do You Say Wrong?

Something I noticed in the last 10 years or so is people saying words wrong. It’s interesting to me. What’s most surprising is how “professional” voice over artists get them wrong because you hear these things in commercials and radio ads a LOT.

Warning: Once you read what’s here, you may start noticing this all over the place. This is your last chance to turn back. Ignorance is bliss, so if you’d rather not have this on your mind the rest of your life, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Here they are (some of these are difficult to spell incorrectly):

  • Pertect instead of protect
    • Pertection
  • Perfessional instead of professional
  • Perscription instead of prescription
    • Perscribe
  • Perduction instead of production
    • Perduce
    • Perducer
    • Perducing
  • Perductive instead of productive
  • Pervent instead of prevent
    • Pervention
  • Perpare instead of prepare
  • Pertrayed instead of portrayed
  • Persents instead of presents (as a verb mainly)
  • Perfer instead of prefer
  • Perdiction instead of prediction
  • Turdition instead of tradition
  • Kintinue instead of continue
  • Kindition instead of condition
  • Comfterble instead of comfortable
  • Interduce instead of introduce
  • Imporen instead of important (stop dropping your “t”s)
  • Expecially instead of especially
  • Expresso instead of espresso
  • Pacifically instead specifically

What’s happening here is called metathesis. Metathesis is the transposition of sounds or syllables in a word or of words in a sentence. Most commonly, it refers to the interchange of two or more contiguous sounds (Wikipedia).

I even heard a radio ad recently where they said “pertect” twice in the same ad but pronounced a promo code as “protect” – so that one just blew my mind. Maybe they had to set up their coupon code do that both “protect” and “pertect” work.

We all have words we say wrong but sound right. Our brain puts it together and we know what someone is saying. I even say “chiggen” instead of “chicken” and it’s something I know I do. Why? Well, I don’t want to be that person that pronounces every syllable correctly. That’s just annoying to listen to, so I don’t want to be like that.

There are some times when it even makes sense to not say things right. Here’s an example I love. Listen to the radio or TV ads and how they say “888” in a phone number. It’s not “eight, eight, eight” but instead sounds more like “ay-day-date” which is weird because the word “eight” isn’t even in there. Hearing “eight, eight, eight” almost sounds kind of jarring and not natural.

So, I’m Sorry

If you’re not hearing these things wrong, then you’re either not really listening for it or you haven’t thought about it until now and, well, you might start noticing it more now. It’s like when you buy a white car, you start noticing all the white cars on the road – that sort of thing.

So now you know… and, I’m sorry if this makes your life a living hell if you start noticing this all over the place. You were warned.

And, I need to note that many of the words deemed acceptable today started out as different words but were pronounced wrong. Eventually, the mispronounced words became the actual words we’re using now. So… languages evolve.


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