They’re Still Talking Like That!

by Cherie Tucker

October 2015

Apparently we have to bring out reminders periodically to keep people in top form. Yesterday a voice on the radio said he had a “whole nother” idea. I know we have a ton of lazy expressions like this, and we know what the guy meant, but let’s stop using them – at least when anyone can hear.

And while we’re on memory lane, here are some more gentle reminders from five years ago. Read them aloud:

Asterisk: This one comes from aster, the Greek word for star. After you say “aster,” say “risk.” There is no x, so you can’t bend this word into “asterix.”

Boutique: In French, the ou combination is pronounced oo, as in Boo! So the word is pronounced boo-teek, not bow-teek. The same rule applies to coupon, pronounced coo-pon, not keyoo-pon.

Et cetera: The first word is et. Say that, then inhale. The next word is set-er-ah. There are four total syllables. If you say ik-set’-ra, don’t.

Height: This word ends with a sharp t, not th. Pronounce it hite, so it rhymes with night.

Niche: Niche rhymes with itch, really. Neesh is in secondary position in the dictionary, indicating that the first pronunciation is preferred.

Often: The t is silent.. Say off-n.

Preventive: Look at this one closely. It’s pre-ven-tive not pre-ven-ta-tive.

Quay: It’s pronounced key.

Realtor®: This one even has an ® and refers to a member of the National Association of Realtors®. It is pronounced like real estate, real-ter, not real-a-tor.

Sherbet: Too many folks add an r to this one. It’s sher-bit. There’s no bert.

It’s a small list. You can put it on your fridge so the whole family can benefit.

Cherie Tucker, owner of GrammarWorks, has taught writing basics to professionals since 1987, presenting at the PNWA conference.  She currently teaches Practical Grammar for Editors at the University of Washington’s Editing Certification program and edits as well.

Cherie TuckerComment