There’s no D in the Word Seventy

One of the things I’ve been working on is pronouncing words correctly. I recently listened to an audio program to learn Italian (I hope to visit Italy in the near future) and was reminded of some of the common mispronunciations that people make. I was surprised at the way the narrator mispronounced numbers in English. Here are some of the ways she mispronounced numbers:

  • Twenty was mispronounced “Twen-y.” – Missing “T.”
  • Seventy was mispronounced “Seven-dy” – “T” to “D.”
  • Ninety was mispronounced “Nine-dy” – “T” to “D.”

These are all very common mistakes, especially up here in the northeast. But as a speaker, some people (especially teachers and people in academia) might find this a distraction. Although many people make these mistakes (including good speakers) you want to put your best foot forward during speeches and job interviews.

When you pronounce words correctly, you come across as more intelligent and more credible. It’s one of those things that takes minimal effort and produces powerful results. Here are some other mispronunciations to look out for:

  • Comfortable mispronounced as “Comf-ter-ble” – Missing “a” sound.
  • Interest mispronounced as “In-trest” – Missing “er” sound.
  • Mischievous mispronounced as “Mis-chev-i-ous” – Additional syllable with the “i” sound.
  • Children mispronounced as “Chil-der-en” – Additional syllable.

So go out there and make your 9th grade English teacher proud. If you have young children, a great way to practice this is when you read to them – you’ll also help them learn the right way to pronounce words. Otherwise, practice it in every day conversation and take notice of the way other folks pronounce (and mispronounce) things.

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4 thoughts on “There’s no D in the Word Seventy

  1. Ally S

    “These are all very common mistakes, especially up here in the northeast”

    This is known as an *accent*, not a pronunciation error. Your error would be in adding a fourth syllable to “comfortable”.

  2. brian

    Ally S even if it’s an accent it still irks people listening. Tis better to pronounce words right or they may see you as less intellegent.

  3. Nancy

    I can’t stand hearing people say across – with the “T” sound at the end. It doesn’t make sense to me why that’s such a problem for so many people. As for me, my kids tell me I don’t say my “H” sounds. Oh well. Picture, pitcher…I’ll blame it on my Boston accent.

  4. James Post author

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

    Ally – sometimes accents and dialects cause us to pronounce words a certian way. This is fine when presenting to the local crowd but can be a distraction to folks from different areas.

    Brian – good to hear from you again. Agreed – there is a perception that bad pronouciation makes you sound less credible.

    Nancy – I used to vacation in upstate New York and I was always teased (in a fun way) about my Boston accent (and the Red Sox). But yes, I’ve noticed the picture/pitcher thing a lot.

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