“These are the words that can trip you up, mix you up, and make you sound like an ignoramus … right when you’re trying to sound intellectual …” Ross Petras and Kathryn write in the introduction of their book, You’re Saying It Wrong.
~ What ~
Targeting those fixated with word pronunciation, this small hardbound book is one-hundred-and-ninety-two-pages and contains one-hundred-and-fifty of the most commonly mispronounced words and their histories and misuses. After a table of contents, acknowledgments, and introduction, the alphabetically organized words cover one page each with systematically inserted blue pages of “how to sound like a …” that include ten topics from a Brit or patron of the arts to a gourmet or seasoned traveler. The book ends with endnotes and the authors’ biographies.
On each of the main pages, one word is in a bold font at the top of the page with its syllable pronunciation divided below it, using all capital letters for the accented section. Also, a definition is given based on five different dictionaries. The next several paragraphs explain the right and wrong way to say the word and its history, usually mentioning how it originated, misconceptions, or misuse.
When I was a child, I was taught to read phonetically. Due to having these phonetic rules ingrained into me, I tend to mispronounce words often such as several in this book (acai, chimera, gyro, and quinoa to name a few). I like that the contents are direct and to the point so if you are in a hurry, you need only to read the second line of the word’s divided syllables. I learned forte is technically not two syllables but one; fungi should be pronounced as FUN-guy, plethora usually is said with the accent on the second syllable instead of the first, Houston Street in New York is HOUSE-ten to New Yorkers, and Nguyen is Wen. Of course, living in the Pacific Northwest, I know never to call my state OR-i-gone or OR-i-gon. The book was informational, educational, and entertaining.
~ Why Not ~
Those who do not want to know how to speak properly or do not care if a word is mispronounced will not bother with this book. Others may think it is senseless to know the correct pronunciation.
~ Who ~
Brother and sisters, the Petras are authors of several books including a number one selling page-a-day calendar that has sold over four-and-a-half million copies the past twenty-one years.
~ Wish ~
Since this book covers a minor amount of one-hundred-fifty mispronounced words, a sequel could be written on a myriad of many other words we say incorrectly. I wish there were a book of common words misused as I am sure I would learn something from it too.
~ Want ~
If you are looking for a gift for a teacher, professor, or someone who loves using words with correct pronunciation, this would be an ideal choice. It may also be a thoughtful way to let someone know how badly they are mispronouncing a word or two.
Thanks to Blogging for Books for this sample. I am offering my opinion freely.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.