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    aesthetic

    Aesthetic is often incorrectly pronounced aestetic, as if there were no h in the word. The correct pronunciation is with a th sound, as in thick, at the beginning of the second syllable.

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    ask

    This error is linked to particular dialects of English. For some individuals, the word ask poses a problem. You may have heard sentences such as, “May I ax you a question?” Of course, the speaker intends to say ask, but the s and k sounds are transposed so that it sounds like ax, as in the tool used to chop wood. For those who have difficulty pronouncing this word, just remember that the s comes before the k, not the other way around.

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    asterisk

    This was a pronunciation error that I myself was totally unaware of until just a few years ago. To most English speakers, the * symbol is called an asterick. Notice that I spelled it without an s because that is exactly how many people pronounce it. For some reason, the little s sound is too difficult to pronounce, so it is simply omitted altogether. It is not a silent sound, however. Remember to say it with the s sound.

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    athlete

    While many pronunciation errors involve omitting sounds or syllables from a word, with athlete, a syllable is actually added. The word is correctly pronounced with only two syllables, not with an extra syllable in the middle.

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    cache

    A cache is a secret hiding place, or a collection of hidden items—for example, a cache of drugs.

    It looks as if it would be pronounced like a French word with an accented e (cash-AY), similar to café. But the correct pronunciation is the same as the word cash.

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    escape

    With the word escape, many people are tempted to add an extra sound. It is not uncommon to hear escape pronounced as exscape. There is no ex sound in the word. Keep this in mind the next time you find yourself saying exscape.

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    February

    This is probably one of the most commonly mispronounced words in the English language. The r in February has been dropped so that it is almost always pronounced Febuary–without the r. Perhaps this is because placing the r sound in the word makes it slightly more difficult to pronounce, and since laziness tends to get the upper hand when we speak, Febuary has become the common pronunciation. However, despite this, the word is correctly pronounced February. The English language has enough silent letters as it is. Remember to keep the r sound in February.

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    forte

    The word forte (pronounced “fort”) is a French word meaning “strength” that is used in English to refer to one’s talent or ability.

    Example: English is my forte.

    This word is often mispronounced “FOR-tay” because it is confused with the Italian word forte (pronounced “FOR-tay”). The words are spelled the same but have different pronunciations and meanings. If you play a musical instrument, you will probably recognize the Italian word as a term meaning “loud.” When referring to ability, the correct pronunciation is “fort,” but in music, it is always “FOR-tay.”

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    height

    The mispronunciation of height as heighth (with a th, rather than a t, sound at the end of the word) probably stems from the tendency to confuse it with similar words dealing with dimension, such as length, width, depth, and breadth. However, height is like the word weight in that it ends with only a t and not a th.

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    lackadaisical

    A lackadaisical person might be lax, but the word is pronounced lackadaisical, not laxadaisical.

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