Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “You're Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words--And Their Tangled Histories of Misuse” as Want to Read:
You're Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words--And Their Tangled Histories of Misuse
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

You're Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words--And Their Tangled Histories of Misuse

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  331 ratings  ·  81 reviews
For word nerds and grammar geeks, a witty guide to the most commonly mispronounced words, along with their correct pronunciations and pithy forays into their fascinating etymologies and histories of use and misuse.

With wit and good humor, this handy little book not only saves us from sticky linguistic situations but also provides fascinating cocktail-party-ready anecdotes
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Ten Speed Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about You're Saying It Wrong, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about You're Saying It Wrong

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  331 ratings  ·  81 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of You're Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words--And Their Tangled Histories of Misuse
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, nonfiction
When we mispronounce words it is often due to a lack of knowledge. Occasionally we’re guilty of metathesis, the rearranging of sounds in a word. Sometimes we can chalk it up to laziness. Whatever the reason, now there’s a guide to help you with the correct pronunciation of 150 commonly mispronounced words. There will be some tricky words in here but also some surprising entries. But mispronunciation is common and it is easy to fall victim to the same hang-ups as others.

Now admittedly many of the
What an entertaining, embarrassingly informative resource this is! When you read it, you’ll understand why I say embarrassing. I can almost guarantee that there will be at least ONE word in here that you’ve either been avoiding or worse, you’ve been saying wrong.

There’s a long list of names that are often pronounced not how you’d expect, and I’m not talking about those long, complicated Welsh names. I think most people familiar with England would know that Leicester is pronounced LESS-ter, b
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You're Saying It Wrong is an excellent collection of the most commonly mispronounced words in the English language. Not only does the book give the correct pronunciations but it also gives the incorrect ones and pithy explanations as to why they are so widely mispronounced. It's a great book for readers because if you're a huge consumer of the written word, a lot of your exposure to these words might come from books, where you aren't able to actually hear the correct pronunciation. Initially I h ...more
(Review posted within one week of publication date, no earlier, per publisher request.) Thanks to 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, I will never, ever forget how to pronounce the Vietnamese menu word for the soup I love so much: "pho". The hilarious naughty little joke shared within is forever embedded in my memory and will be "preventive" of future errors. (And saved me fr ...more
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Note: I finished this one in not much more than a couple of hours on Sept. 9. The publisher asked that reviews be held till the week of release.

When I first heard about this book, I knew right away it was perfect for me. As a long-time writer, news reporter and copy editor (and now that I've pretty much settled into retirement, an avid reader), I figured getting a mere 150 words correct would be a no-brainer.

Was I right? Well, not exactly.

These words range from "acai" to "zydeco" and are, the b
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Five stars! As a casual word nerd and a lifelong reader, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The entry for each word is only a page, which is enough for a bit of etymology and pronunciation explanation but not too much to get bogged down or boring. The authors really know how to appeal to the reader's sense of humor, which is a good tactic when correcting prickly nerds. Many of these words were pronounced as I expected, but there were some true shockers (Dr. Seuss and desultory, I'm looking at you!) ...more
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book is written by a brother sister combo Ross and Kathryn Petras, who say they are word nuts. I have been fascinated with words for a long time but I have a problem with pronunciation so thought this book might help me. I purchased it as an e-book as no audiobook was available. This book would be great as an audiobook so we could hear the correct pronunciations.

The author uses humor, puns and word play along with a broad knowledge of language history to make the book fascinating. The words
Barbara H
Sep 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, language
As an honorary member of the "Grammar Police", I have found much of this enjoyable. Although the book could have contained more errors that come to mind, many of the most glaring gaffes are addressed. For example, I was pleased to see Antarctica mentioned. This is frequently mispronounced, even by meteorologists, even on NPR! The authors state that this habit of eliminating the first "c" in this word is mainly a matter of laziness. Another error frequently stated is "I could care less", when the ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a fun and accessible pronunciation guide to a whole bunch of words, some of which are in common use and often misspelled, others of which are not in common use but are often misspelled when they are used, and still others of which are not misspelled so much as mangled ("for all intents and purposes" into "intensive purposes," for example).

By their nature, books are different for each reader since each reader brings her own life experiences to the text and interprets it through those expe
Connie N.
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
What an entertaining book! The authors have listed dozens of words/phrases that are often pronounced incorrectly. Then they provide the preferred pronunciation, along with the word origin, and some light-hearted information about informal uses of the words. I was pleased by the number of words that I automatically say correctly (maybe half?) and very surprised to learn the correct pronunciation of some that I've been saying wrong. Words like jibe/jive, irregardless/regardless, and supposedly/sup ...more
Oct 03, 2016 added it
When I saw the book You're Saying it Wrong!, subtitled, "A pronunciation guilde to the 150 most commonly mispronounced words and their tangled histories of misue," I knew it was meant for me.

I am going to memorize this book. I am one of those people who learned my vocabulary from reading, not from hearing the words spoken by the people around me, and consquently I don't know how to pronounce words I understand when I read.

Take chiaroscuro (kee-ahr-uh-SKYOOR-oh, according to You're Saying it Wr
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to NetGalley and Ten Speed Press for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What an utterly charming little book. I want to immediately buy a copy for myself and all my friends (except for I can't decide if that's a rude gift to give someone). This is not a stodgy, dry book filled with stern lectures on etymology. Rather, it's an accessible, entertaining read that's filled with delightful asides, entertaining tidbits and yes, lots of commonly mispronounced words
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was fantastic! Grammar goddesses and word nerds rejoice...this is a book for you. There were words in there that I didn't realize people pronounced incorrectly, and I realized there were several that I slaughtered the pronunciation of! *face palm* A lot of fun and informative to read!
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I first opened this book at random, I saw that the Vietnamese name of "Nguyen" is simply pronounced "wen" and is one of the 50 most common surnames in America. I was instantly hooked. This book is for the smarty-pants usage stickler and above-average grammar nerd who wants to take his or her pronunciation game to the next level. Specialty phrases from French, German, Latin, and Spanish that have entered our everyday English are given a thorough (but no more than one page) treatment, includi ...more
Selah Pike
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Can I count it as read if I just skimmed through it? Honestly, this isn't the type of book you can just sit down and read straight through. A few entries were extremely funny (coup de grace, nip it in the bud), but most were dull. A number of words and phrases were ones that I've never heard anyone mispronounce (theater, Wednesday), and others were ones that if I went around saying them correctly, I'd be considered pretentious (croissant, bruschetta). Hands down, the best part was the list of Br ...more
Tonstant Weader
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
My college library had a special “Word Room” dedicated to etymology. It was one of my favorite places on campus. When I had free time, I would take books down and just read about words. I formed a lifelong addiction to word books, which is why I was drawn to You’re Saying It Wrong by Ross and Kathryn Petras, a brother and sister writing team who have a comfortable niche in collecting inspirational or ridiculous quotes into short, bite size books.

You’re Saying It Wrong is a breezy, conversational
Joanne  Clarke Gunter
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love books like this one. I enjoy learning the origins of our English language and how to speak and write it properly. This is a very good little reference book for how to correctly pronounce a number of words in common usage today. Many I already knew, but not all. We have a habit of saying lots of words like we THINK they should be said or as we have heard others say them and often make mistakes because of it. This book takes a playful not preachy approach which might entice more people to r ...more
Elizabeth Grieve
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
As a language teacher I found this especially interesting, but I think it would appeal to a wide and varied audience. It covers words which are commonly mispronounced, and also phrases such as 'I could care less', which is often used instead of the correct version ' I couldn't care less'. It was an enjoyable read, with additional sections on correct pronunciation of names of writers, fashion houses, corporate brand names, and much more.

A preview copy was provided by the publisher in return for
Bernard O'Leary
Sep 20, 2016 rated it liked it
With such a small selection of words–only 150–you'd expect some kind of coherence in all of this. Instead they seem to have been selected randomly, from common phrases like champing at the bit (not "chomping at the bit", you see) to obscure Asian foods. It's weirdly unsatisfying to read as a book, but fun enough to flip through. Ideal bathroom book for amateur etymologists, I guess.

Nowhere near quality of the average Mark Forsyth book though.
May 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Great little book for the language geek. Short, sharp and humorous.
Let's just admit that English spelling and pronunciation are seldom logical. That takes some of the pressure off right there. We've borrowed and stolen from every other language to the point that it's a wonder as many of us pronounce words as well as we do. If you've ever had to explain to someone trying to learn English why the present and past tense of "to read" are spelled the same but pronounced differently or the ten different ways to pronounce the "ough" cluster, you know Add to that all t ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Very cool idea for a book, though it would appear quite a bit shorter than one mentioned in the book that had over 25 thousand words. :) There were several words that I've been saying wrong, but at least the majority of them were due to them being foreign words initially, at least. I was surprised by timbre the most, I think. who knew it was "tam ber"? You know, other than music majors.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A book for a word nerd like me! It includes an alphabetized list of often mispronounced words and includes humorous (and punny) background and commentary. I am guilty of pronouncing some of the words wrong, and I hope to remember so I can do better.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Purchased with a mixture of kindness and jerkiness for my bro, but I thought I better do a quick read myself lest I have been a fool too. Embarrassingly and delightfully informative - I was especially happy, in a snooty way, to get to the “O” section and find entries on both orangutans and Oregon in there.
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Words are a beautiful thing, but sometimes they are pronounced in a way that is confusing, counter-intuitive, or different from what you've learned. Ross Petras and Kathryn Petras's You're Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words and Their Tangled Histories of Misuse presents the history and correct pronunciation of 150 words.

To read this, and other book reviews, visit my website:

This compact collection of common
Cate (The Professional Fangirl)

"You're saying it wrong. It's LeviOsa. Not LevioSAR."

Yup. That was the first thing that came into mind when I read the title. Blogging for Books has this in their lineup so I didn't hesitate to snatch it up. Thanks for sending it my way!

So... English. It is not my mother tongue. My English grammar, spelling, and pronunciation are far from perfect although I've seen and heard worse. Much, MUCH worse. I learned English outside the United States, in a classroom environment ever since nursery school
K.W. Colyard
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews

You'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

Darcia Helle
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought I knew how to speak reasonably well. Then I read this book, and, how utterly embarrassing! Did my English professors even know these things?

This book is a fun, informative collection of words many - if not most - people mispronounce. The listing is alphabetical. Each entry places the phonetic spelling directly below the word at the top of the page, so we immediately know how badly we've mangled the pronunciation. Or, on occasion, we can whoop with pride for getting one right.

Along wit
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An interesting and useful investigation into the correct prononciation of some difficult English or originally Latin or from Latin or other languages words. It allows you to make mistakes that even the native speakers do, such as acai, bouillon, draught, moussaka, quinoa, wassail, geoduck. Useful is also the historical background of each word. Separate lists with the correct prononciation of fashion brands, composers or writers are also provided. In the authors' words, this book 'helps us all av ...more
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Wow. I have a love of words, and I was guilty of mispronouncing quite a few of these. I had this book on my kindle and dipped into it here and there when I had a minute. It was really fun and sharing little tidbits from the book made for fun conversation. And yes, when I read about "supposedly," I couldn't help but think of Joey from Friends. "Supposably? Supposably. Did they go to the zoo? Supposably."
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • That Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means: The 150 Most Commonly Misused Words and Their Tangled Histories
  • Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change
  • Teaching with Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom
  • A sbohem (Skvosty poezie, #1)
  • Native Peoples of North America
  • How to Fight
  • Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual
  • The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It
  • Why My Cat Is More Impressive Than Your Baby
  • MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman
  • Triple Jeopardy (Nero Wolfe, #20)
  • Ruby & Roland
  • The Art of Work
  • Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly (Hercule Poirot, #45.7)
  • Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life
  • Sinatra's Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World
  • Supreme Inequality: The Supreme Court's Fifty-Year Battle for a More Unjust America
  • Michael Field: The Poet
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
52 likes · 18 comments