The Project Gutenberg EBook of Every-Day Errors of Speech, by L. P. Meredith

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Title: Every-Day Errors of Speech

Author: L. P. Meredith

Release Date: May 19, 2010 [EBook #32435]

Language: English

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year, 1872, by
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

[Pg iii]


Damas. * * * The Prince of Como does not

understand his own language.

Melnotte. Not as you pronounce it: Who the

deuce could?

It may be regarded as one of the commendable peculiarities of the English language that, despite provincialisms, vulgarisms, neglected education, foreign accent, and the various corrupting influences to which it is subjected, it may be understood wherever it is heard, whatever differences of distance or associations may have existed between the speaker and the listener, both claiming familiarity with it. Considering these influences and the arbitrariness of the orthoepical rules of the language, there has been expressed surprise that frequent degenerations into uncouth dialects or patois have not occurred. A decent regard for the common weal should cause gratification that such degenerations have not taken place, for were it not for the ability of our tongue to preserve its individuality against the tendency toward corruption, we might reasonably fear such a Babel-like confusion, that, when asked, "Do you [Pg iv] speak English?" one might appropriately, sans the profanity, reply in the language of the text, "Not as you pronounce it: Who the deuce could?" While the majority of people place no other value upon language than that of convenience, and are indifferent to any corruption, so long as they can simply understand and be understood, there is happily a better class, the sthetic cultivation of which is such that those who belong to it are anxious to preserve the purity of our vernacular and are ashamed of all errors of speech in their daily conversations. For such it will not be uninteresting to look over a number of errors, principally of pronunciation, that are not formally laid down as such in books, and which people, even many of the best educated, are constantly committing, just because they have never had their attention called to them. These errors are becoming more deeply rooted every day and if not soon eradicated, it will not be many years before our orthoepic standard will be overthrown as it was in England some years ago.

Smart, one of the most celebrated of English orthoepists, in the preface of his dictionary says: "The proprietors of Walker's dictionary, finding it would slide entirely out of use unless it were adapted to the present day, engaged me as a teacher of elocution, known in London since Walker's time, to make the necessary changes." A standard pronouncing dictionary is a work that involves an extraordinary [Pg v] amount of labor and research in its compilation, and exerts an influence almost autocratical. The possibility of its becoming worthless in a short time is strange, especially when it is not on account of any work claiming superiority, but merely because error long persisted in finally becomes more authoritative than the original exemplar. With little effort, however, we can discern the causes. Persons are apt to acquire the pronunciation and use of the greater number of words by imitation, rather than by study. With confidence in the knowledge of the parent, teacher, minister, physician and others, their examples are followed without ever considering that they are often very fallible guides.

A complete dictionary is an immense volume, and to turn over its pages with even a casual observation of each word, requires an amount of time that few would feel like devoting to it; and yet this is the only way in which a person can become assured of the sanctioned pronunciation and meaning of a great many words. If they would make it an invariable rule to make memoranda of all the words they read or hear spoken, about the orthoepy and import of which they are not absolutely certain, and at their first leisure opportunity would consult their chosen authority, it would not be long before the majority of errors would be corrected; but this requires memory, inclination, time, continuity of purpose, possession of dictionaries or access to them—circumstances [Pg vi] that are seldom found combined. It will doubtless be useless to rehearse any of the arguments commonly employed to prove the necessity of having some sovereign standard, to the guidance of which we must be willing to submit. Those for whom this work is intended will be willing to admit that. Nor is it necessary to assert that as far as the English speakers of the United States are interested, the only works that lay claim to such a position are the dictionaries of Webster and Worcester. If the right of the opinions of the majority of scholars throughout the land were alone considered, the former would certainly be entitled to the preference; but the work of the latter is too full of merit and has too many adherents in the ranks of the educated to permit any one to say that it is not worthy of high esteem.

With my own preference for the former and with my willingness to acknowledge the worth of the latter, I have consulted both authorities concerning every word in the following vocabulary—that is, every word requiring reference to either. It will be seen that there is much less difference between the decisions of the two dictionaries than is commonly supposed. By this reference to each, I have not only corrected errors in an impartial manner, but have also stopped up that loop-hole through which so many try to escape by saying, when they are called to account according to one dictionary, that they do not accept that as their standard. As far as the people of this [Pg vii] country are concerned, there is no escape from the conclusion that a person is considered a correct or an incorrect speaker of English, according to whether or not he conforms his discourse to one of the above mentioned authorities. At first glance it will appear that the size of this volume is not at all commensurate to the task of correcting the many errors that are heard in our communication with all classes that pretend to speak the English language. It is not intended to instruct those whose education has been so neglected that they are guilty of the grossest violation of syntax and orthoepy, nor to cultivate the taste of those whose selection of words and cant and slang phrases betrays the low grade of the associations by which they have been surrounded. It is designed rather as a collection of the more common of those errors, chiefly orthoepical, that I have before spoken of as being of constant occurrence even among people of education, unless they have paid considerable attention to philology or belles-lettres. If by presenting them in this convenient form, thus saving much time and trouble in referring to the dictionary, I have merited the thanks of my readers, or if I have contributed even a mite toward the conservation of the present usage, I shall feel amply repaid.

I have taken advantage of the alphabetical arrangement to introduce a few miscellaneous errors that might have been placed under a separate heading.

[Pg viii] Instead of dividing the words into syllables and loading them with marks as is usually done in dictionaries, I have thought that it would make a deeper impression on the memory to present the words as they are commonly seen in print, depending on respelling to furnish the correct and incorrect accent and pronunciation.

The corrections have first been made according to Webster; if Worcester is unmentioned, it is to be understood that both authorities agree.

Cincinnati, December 20, 1871.

[Pg 9]

Errors of Speech.

[Pg 10]


The long sounds of a, e, i, o, u, are represented by ā, ē, ī, ō, ū.
The short sounds of a, e, i, o, u,                "  ă, ĕ, ĭ, ŏ, ŭ.

  a, as in air, pair, is represented by .
  a,   "   far, arm,       "         "   or ah.
  a,   "   all, haul,      "         "  aw.
  a,   "   what, squat,    "         "  ŏ.
  e,   "   ere, where,     "         "  .
  e,   "   obey, weight,   "         "  ā.
  e,   "   her, term,      "         "  .
  i,   "   machine,        "         "  ē or ee.
  i,   "   dirk, whirl,    "         "  .
  o,   "   done, son,      "         "  ŭ.
  o,   "   woman,          "         "  ŏŏ.
  o,   "   do, move,       "         "  ōō.
  o,   "   for, storm,     "         "   or aw.
  oo,  "   soon, moon,     "         "  ōō.
  oo,  "   foot, good,     "         "  ŏŏ.
  u,   "   rude, rule,     "         "  ōō.
  u,   "   push, pull,     "         "  ŏŏ.
  u,   "   burn, turn,     "         "  .
  oi,} "   oil, toy,       "         "  oi.
  ou,} "   found, owl,     "         "  ow.

  c, as in city, cite, is represented by s or .
  c,   "   can, cut,       "         "  k.
  ch,  "   child, much,    "         "  ch.
  ch,  "   machine,        "         "  sh.
  ch,  "   chorus,         "         "  k.
  g,   "   ginger,         "         "  j.
  n,   "   think, uncle,   "         "  .
  qu,  "   require,        "         "  kw.
  s,   "   these, ease,    "         "  z.

Obscure vowel sounds, or those which are glided over in a word without any noticeable accent, are unmarked. In those cases where the pronunciation is so evident that mistakes seem improbable, the marks are also omitted.

[Pg 11]






Abacus—aba-kŭs, not a-băkŭs.

Abdomen—ab-dōmen, not abdo-men.

Acclimate—ak-klīmāte, not akkli-māte.

Acclimated is also accented on the second syllable.

Acclimatization—ak-kli-mat-i-zāshun, not ak-klīma-ti-zā-shun.

Adult—a-dŭlt, not ădult.

Aerated—āer-ā-ted, not ārē-ā-ted. "Areated bread" is a mistake that is frequently made.

Ailantus—ā-lăntŭs, not ā-lănthŭs; ăt-lăntus is a still worse error.

Albumen—al-būmen, not albu-men.

Alder—awlder, not ălder; it is the name of a tree and does not mean the ordinary elder.

Alike. It is sufficient to say that two persons or things are alike, not both alike. The word associated with alike is just as unnecessary as it is with resemble and equal in the following sentences: "These two men both resemble each other." "These two sums are both equal."

Allopathy—al-lŏpa-thy, not allo-path-y.

Allopathist is similarly accented.

Alpaca—al-păka, not al-la-păka.

Altercate—ălter-kāte, not awlter-kate.

Amenable—a-mēna-ble, not a-mĕna-ble.

Among. A thing is divided among many and between two.

Amour—a-mōōr, not am-mōre nor āmōōr.

Angry. Say angry with a person and at a thing.

Animalcula is the plural of [Pg 12] animalculum; there is no such word as animalculœ. Animalcule (singular) and animalcules (plural), are proper words; the former is pronounced an-i-malkūle and the latter an-i-malkūlz.

Antarctic—ant-rktik, not ant-rtik.

Antepenult—an-te-pe-nŭlt, not an-te-pēnŭlt.

Apex—āpex, not ăpex.

Apparatus—ap-pa-rātus, not ap-pa-rătus.

Aquaria, not aquariums, is the plural of aquarium.

Arabic—ăra-bĭk, not a-răbĭk, a-rābĭk, nor ăra-băk; which errors are very common, especially in the compound word gum-arabic.

Arbitrary is often incorrectly pronounced as if spelled ar-bi-ta-ry.

Archangel—rk-ānjel, not rch-ānjel.

Archbishop—rch-bishop, not rk-bishop.

Archipelago—rk-i-pela-gō, not rch-i-pela-gō.

Architect—rki-tect, not rchi-tect.

Archives—rkīvez, not rchīvez, nor rkēvez.

Arctic—rktik, not rtik.

Arid—ărid, not ārid.

Aroma—a-rōma, not ăro-ma.

At should not be used when it has no possible connection with the other words of a sentence; as, "Where are you living at?"

At all, not a tall.

Attacked, not attackted.

Auction—awkshun, not ŏkshun.

Ay or Aye, meaning yes, and aye, an affirmative vote, are pronounced ĭ and not ī nor ā.

Aye, meaning forever, always (used chiefly in poetry), is pronounced ā not ī nor ĭ.



Bade—băd, not bāde.

Badinage—bădin-zh, not bădin-āje. Worcester gives the same pronunciation, but places the accent on the last syllable.

Balance. There are two common errors connected with this word. One is to write it ballance: the other is to use it in the sense of remainder, rest, etc.; as, the balance of the day, the balance of the people. Balance means properly "the excess on one side, or what added to the other makes equality." The corrupt use of the word, as above mentioned, is laid down as a vulgarism.

Bantam, not banty.

Bellows—bĕllŭs, not bĕllōz. The plural is the same as the singular.

[Pg 13] Besom—bēzum, not bēsum. A broom.

Betroth—be-trŏth, not be-trōth. Betrothed, Betrothal, etc., are similarly pronounced.

Blacking, not blackening for boots and shoes.

Blouse—blowz, not blowss.

Bologna—bō-lōnya, not bō-lōna. Bologna sausage, Bologna phial, etc.

Bona fide—bōna-fīde, not bōna-fīde nor bŏna-fīde.

Booth. The th is sounded as in the preposition with, not as in both.

Bouquet—bōō-kā or boōōkā, not bō-kā.

Bourgeois, meaning a kind of type, is pronounced br-jois, not like the following word:

Bourgeois, a citizen, pronounced bōōr-zhwaw.

Brand-new, not bran-new. Although the latter adjective is much used, it is evidently a corruption of the former. An article in its newness may be bright like a brand of fire, or the brand of the manufacturer may remain intact, but there is certainly no bran about it.

Breeches—brĭtchez, not as spelled.

Bretzel, not pretzel. A brittle German cake.

Brilliant. A diamond of the finest cut, with its faces and facets so arranged as to secure the greatest degree of brilliancy—whence the name. The name to many conveys the idea of paste, or imitation. A rose diamond may be just as pure, but its depth does not permit it to be made a brilliant of without a much greater loss of substance.

Brougham—brōōm or brōōam, not brōam nor browam. A kind of carriage.

Burst, Burst and Bursting, not bust, busted and busting.



Calculate is often inappropriately used in lieu of believe, suppose, expect, etc., as in the following sentences: "I calculate you are my friend;" "I calculate the report is true." Still worse than this passive misuse is that active one of using the word in some such sense as this: "Doctor, I know that you are a man of great intelligence and I have unlimited confidence in your honor and ability; but I must say that I think the course of treatment pursued by you during this epidemic, is calculated to increase the mortality among your patients." How inconsistent with the encomium is the dreadful accusation [Pg 14] just following! As if the Doctor had sat down and calculated how he could cause injury rather than benefit. Calculate means to ascertain by means of figures or to study what means must be used to secure a certain result. A person may make a speech, write a book, or do anything else calculated to do good, or more rarely, evil, but the intention to accomplish the object spoken of must be present, before the word can be properly used.

Calliope—kal-līo-pe, not kalli-ōpe.

Calvary, not cavalry, when the place of our Saviour's crucifixion is meant.

Camelopard—ka-melo-prd or kamel-o-prd, not kam-el-lĕopard.

Cantatrice—kăn-ta-trēche, not kănta-treess.

Canon—kănyun, not kănnun. A deep gorge or ravine. Spelled also Canyon, pronounced kn-yōn or kănyon.

Capoch—ka-pōōtsh, not ka-pōch. Capouch is another orthography.

Caption in the sense of the heading of a discourse, chapter, page, etc., is not sanctioned by good writers.

Carminative—kr-mīna-tive, not krmi-nā-tive.

Casualty—kăzhu-al-ty, not kăz-u-ăli-ty.

Cater-cornered—kāter-cor-nered, not kătty-cor-nered. Not down, thus compounded in Webster, but his pronunciation of the separate words is as given. Worcester gives the word as above and defines it as an adjective—diagonal. It is generally used though, I believe, as an adverb; as, "the piano stands cater-cornered" (diagonally). It is regarded as an inelegant word, diagonal and diagonally being preferred: though it is probable that this opinion has been caused by the abominable pronunciations catty and kitty cornered.

Catalpa—ka-tălpa, not ka-tawlpa.

Catch, Catching—kătch and kătching, not kĕtch and kĕtching.

Catholic means liberal, general, not bigoted, and not Roman Catholic, unless specially so applied.

Caucasian—kaw-kāsian,not kaw-kāzhian, kaw-kăshian, kaw-kāzian nor kaw-kăssian.

Cayenne—kā-ĕn, not kī-ĕn.

Chaps—chŏps, not chăps. The jaws. Chops is also correct orthography.

Chasten—chāsen, not chăsen. Chastened, chastening, [Pg 15] etc., have also the long a.

Chew, not chaw. The latter word either as a verb or noun is now considered quite vulgar.

Chid, not chīded, is the imperfect tense of chide.

Chimera—kĭ-mēra, not chi-mēra, nor kī-mēra.

Chivalric—shĭval-rik, not shĭv-ălrik. Worcester allows the latter.

Chivalrous—shĭval-rŭs, not shĭv-ălrus. Worcester gives chĭval-rus also.

Chivalry—shĭval-ry, not chĭval-ry. Worcester sanctions both.

Cicerone—chē-che-rōne or sĭs-e-rōne, not sĭse-rōne. A guide.

Citrate—sĭtrate, not sītrate. "Citrate of magnesia."

Climbed, not clomb (klum). One climbs up but does not climb down.

Cochineal—kŏchi-neel, not kōchi-neel nor kōki-neel.

Cocoa (kōkō) is not made from the cocoa-nut or tree, but from the seeds of the cacao (ka-kāo) or chocolate tree. The word is evidently a perversion, but it has gained a permanent footing in its present signification.

Cognomen—kŏg-nomen, not kŏgno-men.

Cold-chisel, not coal-chisel. It is a chisel of peculiar strength and hardness for cutting cold metal.

Cole-slaw. In the former editions of some dictionaries it has been taught that this word is derived from cole meaning cabbage, and slaw meaning salad. Cole-slaw—cabbage-salad. The uninstructed soon changed the cole into cold and substituted hot for the other extreme of temperature, thus entirely changing the signification. What was really meant, was hot cole-slaw and cold cole-slaw. Many persons still regard cole-slaw as the proper word, and receipt books give that orthography. The last editions of Webster and Worcester, however, only give the words cole and slaw in separate places and define the latter as "sliced cabbage."

Combatant—kŏmbat-ant, not kom-bătant.

Combativeness—kŏmbat-ive-ness, not kom-bătive-ness.

Come is often thoughtlessly used for go or some other word. If How is just leaving Howard's house it is right for How to say, "I'll come to see you soon," but Howard could not properly say, at that place, the same thing. He should say, "I will go to see you [Pg 16] soon." If they both live in Philadelphia and should meet in New York, neither could say appropriately, "I'll come to see you after I get home;" that would mean that one would travel back from his home in Philadelphia to New York to see the other. But either might say, "Come and see me when you get home."

Comparable—kŏmpa-ra-ble, not kŏm-păra-ble.

Complaisance—kŏmpla-zans, not kŏm-plāzăns. In complaisant and complaisantly, the accent is also on the first syllable. Worcester places it on the third, thus: complaisant (kom-pla-zănt), etc.

Comptroller—kon-trōller, not kŏmp-trōller.

Conduit—kŏndĭt or kŭndit, not kŏnduĭt or kŏndūte. A pipe or canal for the conveyance of fluid.

Confab, not conflab. A contraction of confabulation.

Congeries—kŏn-jērĭ-eez, not kon-jērēz nor kŏnje-rēz. A collection of particles into one mass.

Contemptuous, not contemptible, when the manifestation of contempt for another is meant. I once heard a young lady describing how she had withered at a glance a poor young man that had incurred her displeasure. "O, I gave him such a contemptible look," said she. If in the enthusiasm of the rehearsal, the look that dwelt upon her features was akin to that given upon the occasion mentioned, no auditor doubted the exact truth of what she said; but she meant differently.

Contiguous—kon-tigū-ŭs, not kon-tĭjū-ŭs.

Contour—kŏn-tōōr, not kŏntōōr. The boundary lines of a figure.

Contra-dance is better than country-dance, the latter word being a corruption; but it has become admissible from long use. Contredanse is the French original, and means that the parties stand opposite to each other.

Contrary—kŏntra-ry, not kon-trāry, interfering with the rhythm of the distich from Mother Goose's Melodies:

"Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?"

Contumacy—kŏntu-ma-sy, not kon-tūma-sy. Obstinacy, stubbornness.

Contumely—kŏntu-me-ly not kŏn-tūme-ly. Insolence, contemptuousness.

Conversant—kŏnver-sant, not kon-vĕrsănt.

[Pg 17] Conversazione—kŏnver-st-se-ōnā, not kon-ver-săssi-ōne. A meeting for conversation. Worcester pronounces it kŏn-ver-st-ze-ōnā. The plural is conversazioni (-nē).

Corporal punishment, not cor-pōre-al.

Cortege—krtāzh, not kortēje. A train of attendants.

Councilor, is a member of council.

Counselor, one who gives advice. Worcester's spelling is councillor and counsellor.

Creek, not krĭck.

Creole. From Webster's dictionary are taken the following definitions and remarks:

1. "One born in America, or the West Indies, of European ancestors.

2. "One born within or near the tropics, of any color. 'The term creole negro is employed in the English West Indies to distinguish the negroes born there from the Africans imported during the time of the slave trade. The application of this term to the colored people has led to an idea common in some parts of the United States, though wholly unfounded, that it implies an admixture greater or less of African blood.'—R. Hildreth."

Crinoline—krĭno-lĭn, not krĭno-līne nor krĭno-leen.

Cuirass—kwē-răs or kwērăs, not kūrăs. A piece of armor.

Cuisine—kwe-zēn, not kū-seen or kū-zīne. Cooking or cooking department.

Culinary—kūli-na-ry, not kŭli-na-ry.

Cupola—kūpo-la, not kū-po-lō.



Dahlia—dlya or dāl-ya, not dălya.

Dare not, not darse'nt.

Data—dāta, not dăta, is the plural of datum (dātum).

Debris—dā-brē, not dēbrĭs nor dābrē. Rubbish, ruins.

Decade—dĕkade, not dēkade nor dē-kāde. Ten in number.

Defalcate—de-fălkate, not de-fawlkāte.

Defalcation—dē-făl-kāshun not dē-fawl-kāshun. Worcester gives dĕf-al-kāshun. No such word as defalcater is seen.

Deficit—dĕfi-sit, not de-fīsit nor de-fĭssit. A deficiency.

Delusion, not illusion, when deception occurs from want of knowledge of the world, ignorance of business or trade, or from lack of acumen [Pg 18] generally. Illusions are deceptions arising from a temporarily or permanently disordered imagination, or from phenomena occurring in nature: thus we speak of the illusions of fancy, of dreams, and of optical illusions. The mirage of the desert and the fata Morgana are instances of the latter.

Demonstrative—de-mŏnstra-tive, not dĕmon-strā-tive.

Demonstrator—dĕmon-strā-tor, not de-mŏnstrā-tor. Worcester allows the latter.

Depot—de-pō or dēpō, not dāpō, nor dĕppo. Worcester sanctions de-pō only. I once had a friend, deceased now, of course, who called it de-pŏt.

Dereliction—der-e-lĭkshun, not dĕr-e-lĕkshun. A forsaking, abandonment.

Deshabille—dĕs-a-bĭl, } Dishabille—dĭs-a-bĭl, } not dĕsha-beel nor dĭsha-beel. The French is dshabill, pronounced about like dā-z-be-yā, without any particular accent. Some persons, in their vain efforts to get the peculiar liquid sound of the double l, sometimes used, distort the word terribly, pronouncing it even as broad as dĭs-ha-beelyuh.

Desideratum—de-sid-e-rātum, not de-sĭd-er-ătum; plural, de-sĭd-er-āta. Something particularly desired.

Desperado—des-per-ādo, not des-per-do.

Dessert—dĕz-zrt, not dĕzzert, nor dĕssert: dessert-spoon (dez-zrt-spoon).

Die. One dies of a disease, not with it.

Differ. One differs with a person in opinion; one person or thing differs from another in some quality.

Disappointed. One is disappointed of a thing not obtained and in a thing obtained. "He will be disappointed of his expectations."

Discourse—dis-kōrs, not dĭskōrs.

Disputable—dispu-ta-ble, not dis-pūta-ble.

Disputant—dispu-tant, not dis-pūtant.

Distich—dĭstĭk, not dĭstĭch. Two poetic lines making sense.

Docible—dŏsi-ble, not dōsi-ble. Tractable; teachable.

Docile—dŏsĭl, not dōsīle.

Dolorous—dŏlor-ŭs, not dōlor-oŭs. Dolorously and Dolorousness are similarly accented; but dolor is pronounced dōlor.

Doubt. "I do not doubt but that it is so," is a very [Pg 19] common error. The meaning conveyed is just the opposite to that which the speaker intends. He declares in other words, that he has no doubt but a doubt that it is so; or he does not doubt that it is false. "I have no doubt but," and "there is no doubt but,"—are similar mistakes. The word "but" should be left out.

Dough-face means one that is easily molded to one's will, or readily changed in his views, and not a putty-faced or white-faced person.

Dragomans, not dragomen, is the plural of dragoman, an Eastern interpreter.

Drama—drma or drāma, not drăma. Worcester says drāma or drăma.

Dramatis Person—drăma-tīs per-sōnē, not dra-mătis pĕrso-nē.

Drank, not drunk, is the imperfect tense of drink.

Ducat—dŭkat, not dūkat.



Ear—ēar, not yēar. Persons frequently speak of the year-ache, and occasionally "a year of corn," may be heard.

Ecce Homo—ĕksē hōmō, not ĕkkē hōmō.

Eider—īder, not ēder. Eider-down and eider-duck.

Elm is pronounced in one syllable and not ĕllum.

Elysian—e-lĭzi-an, not e-lĭssian. Worcester gives e-lĭzhe-an.

Embryo—embry-ō, not em-bryō.

Employe (Fr. employ)—ĕm-ploy-ā or ŏng-plwaw-yā, not employē or ong-ployā. Employee is not allowed.

Encore—ŏng-kōr, not ŏngkōr nor ĕnkōr.

Eneid—ē-nēid not ēne-id. A poem of Virgil. Worcester sanctions both methods of pronunciation.

Ennui—ŏng-nwē, not ŏngwē. Worcester gives a much simpler pronunciation, viz: n-wē.

Enquiry—en-kwīry, not ĕnkwĭ-ry.

Epsom Salt, not Epsom Salts.

Equable—ēkwa-ble, not ĕkwa-ble.

Equally well, etc., not equally as well, etc.

Espionage—ĕspe-on-āje or ĕspe-on-zh, not ĕs-pīo-nāje nor es-pēon-zh.

Esquimau—ĕske-mō, not ĕsqui-maw: plural, Esquimaux (ĕske-mōz), not ĕske-mawz nor ĕske-mō.

Etagere—ĕt-a-zhr, not e-tăzher-y nor at-tăzhĭ-a. Worcester's pronunciation is ā-t-zhr. A piece of parlor furniture with shelves, used for placing [Pg 20] small ornaments and fancy articles upon; a what-not.

Excrescence—ex-krĕssense not ex-krēsense. A superfluous appendage: morbid outgrowth.

Expect has reference to the future only, and not to the present or past. "I expect that you are wrong." "I expect you were disappointed yesterday," are errors. There is an abundance of words that may be correctly used, as suppose, suspect, imagine, believe and think.

Expose (Fr. expos)—ĕks-po-zā, not ex-pōz. An exposition; statement.

Exquisite—ĕksquĭ-zĭt, not eks-quĭzitĕ. Exquisitely is accented on the first syllable also.

Extant—extant not ex-tănt.

Extol—ex-tŏl, not ex-tō. Extolled, ex-tŏld, etc.



Facet—făsset not fā-sĕt. A small surface or face; as one of the facets of a diamond.

Falchion—fawlchun, not fălchĭ-on. A sword. Worcester sanctions fawlshun, also.

Falcon—fawkn, not făl-kŏn.

Fang. When applied to a tooth, fang means the portion that is outside of the jaw. This name is often, even by dentists, erroneously given to the root or part that is set into the jaw.

Far, not fur.

Febrile—fēbrĭl or fĕbrĭl, not fēbrīle. Relating to fever.

February, as it is spelled, and not Fĕbu-a-ry, as many say and write it.

Feod, feodal, feodality—fūd, fūdal, and fū-dăli-ty. Relating to a kind of tenure formerly existing in Europe, in which military services were rendered by the tenant as a consideration. Feud, feudal, feudality, is the orthography generally adopted now.

Ferret. A ferret is an animal of the weasel kind, used to drive rabbits out of their burrows, and not a species of dog.

Fetid—fĕtid, not fētid.

Fetor—fētor, not fĕtor.

Finale—-fe-nlā, not fīnāle or fī-nălly.

Finance—fĭ-năns, not fī-năns.

Finances—fĭ-nănsĕz, not fīnăn-sĕz.

Financier—fĭn-an-seer, not fī-nan-seer. Financial, and financially, have also the short i in the first syllable.

Finis—fīnis, not fĭnis.

Firmament means the expanse of the sky: the heavens. The meaning, [Pg 21] solid foundation, is obsolete.

Flannel, not flannen.

Florid—flŏrid, not flōrĭd.

Florin—flŏrin, not flō-rĭn. A piece of money.

Florist—flōrist, not flŏrist.

Forage—fŏraje, not fōraje.

Forceps—frseps, not fōrseps. The word is spelled the same in both the singular and the plural numbers. Such mistakes as, "hand me a forcep," instead of "hand me a forceps," are very common. Strictly speaking, "a pair of forceps," ought, I suppose, to mean two forceps; but like the expressions "a pair of scissors" and "a pair of stairs," the phrase has been in use so long that it must be tolerated.

Forehead—fŏred, not fōrhĕd. Worcester allows either.

Foreign—fŏrin, not fŭrin.

Fortnight—frtnīte, not fōrtnīte, fōrtnĭt nor frtnĭt. Worcester gives what is authorized above and frtnĭt.

Fortress—frtress, not fōrtress.

Fragile—frăjĭl, not frājĭl nor frājīle.

Fritter, not flitter, is the name of a kind of fried cake.

Frivolity—fri-vŏli-ty, not frĭvol-ty.

Frontier—frŏnteer, not frŭnteer nor frŭn-teer.

Frontispiece—frŏntis-pēse, not frŭntis-pēse.

Fuchsia—fōōksĭ-a, not fūshĭ-a. Worcester gives the latter.

Fuzz, not furze, is the word to use, if used at all, when the embryo whiskers, or the downy surface of fruit, etc., are meant. Down is the more appropriate word. Furze is the name of an evergreen shrub.



Gallivating, not gallivanting. Gallivanting is a word that is used to some extent, being applied to persons that are roaming about for amusement or adventure; as, "this young man has been gallivanting around." If it is a corruption of gallanting, it should certainly be abolished as a vulgarism; but if it is a corruption of gallivating, from gallivat, the name of a small sailing vessel, it might be clothed in its proper garb and retained as a useful word in our language. If either is used, the one above preferred should be chosen, at any rate.

Gallows—găllus, not găllōz. Gallowses, plural.

[Pg 22] Gamin—ga-măng, not gămin nor gāmin. A street child.

Gape—gpe or gāpe, not găp.

Gargle. One gargles, not gurgles, the throat.

Gaseous—găze-us, not găss-e-us. Worcester gives gāze-us too.

Gather—găther, not gĕther.

Genealogy—jĕn-e-ălo-jy, not jē-ne-ălo-jy nor je-ne-ŏlo-jy.

Genealogist (jĕn-e-ălo-jist), genealogical (jĕn-e-a-lŏji-kal) and genealogically (jĕn-e-a-lŏji-kal-ly).

Generic—je-nĕrik, not jĕner-ik, nor je-nērik. Relating to a genus, or kind.

Gerund—jĕrund, not jē-rund. A kind of verbal noun in Latin.

Get, not gĭt.

Giaour—jowr, not gīōōr, jī-owr nor jōōr. An epithet applied by the Turks to a disbeliever in Mahomet; the name of one of Byron's poems.

Gibbet—jĭbbet, not gĭbbet.

Glamour—glāmōōr, not glămmur. Worcester gives glāmer, also. A charm in the eyes, making them see things differently from what they really are.

Gneiss—nīs, not nēs nor gnēs. A kind of rock.

Gondola—gŏndo-la, not gon-dōla.

Got. There are some sticklers for niceties that overdo themselves in contending that the use of the verb got is generally unnecessary and incorrect in conjunction with have and had. Get means to procure, to obtain, to come into possession of, etc., and it is a very tame assertion that one simply has a thing that cost much mental or physical labor. A scholar has his lesson, but did it creep into his head while he passively shut his eyes and went to sleep? On the contrary, he got it or learned it by hard study, and it is proper to say that he has got it. A man has a cold, but he got it or took it by exposing himself. A person has a sum of money, but he got or earned it by his labor. Another has good friends, but he got or secured them by his pleasant address. The great causes of the warfare against this word are, I think, that have and had, though generally used as auxiliaries, can sometimes be used as principal verbs and make good sense; and that it has not been recollected that in the majority of cases got either stands for, or can be substituted for another verb. In confirmation [Pg 23] of this last statement, is appended the following composed by Dr. Withers: "I got on horseback within ten minutes after I got your letter. When I got to Canterbury, I got a chaise for town, but I got wet before I got to Canterbury; and I have got such a cold as I shall not be able to get rid of in a hurry. I got to the Treasury about noon, but first of all I got shaved and dressed. I soon got into the secret of getting a memorial before the board, but I could not get an answer then; however, I got intelligence from the messenger, that I should most likely get one the next morning. As soon as I got back to my inn, I got my supper and got to bed. It was not long before I got asleep. When I got up in the morning, I got my breakfast, and then I got myself dressed that I might get out in time to get an answer to my memorial. As soon as I got it, I got into the chaise and got to Canterbury by three, and about tea-time, I got home. I have got nothing for you, and so adieu."

Applying this test of substitution to any doubtful case, I think it right to assert that if there is no other verb, or participle, that will appropriately take the place of "got," the latter word is unnecessary; but it should hardly be considered as an error, as it is so slight an impropriety compared with many others that are allowed, and especially because we have long had the usage of many of the best writers to sanction the employment of the word. The very people that appear to be so shocked at the use of the superfluous got, may generally be heard making use of such expressions as "fell down upon the ground," "rose up and went away," "covered it over," and "a great, big fire." The down, up, over and big are certainly superfluities, but they have been heard so long that they are seldom mentioned as errors.

Gourmand—gōōrmnd, not grmand, unless the orthography gormand is used.

Gout—gowt, not gōōt, as actors are sometimes heard pronounce it in the following line from Macbeth: "On thy blade and dudgeon, gouts of blood."

Government—gŭvern-ment not gŭver-ment. It is a [Pg 24] mistake, frequently made, to write and pronounce the word as if it had no "n" in the penultimate.

Gramercy—gra-mrsy, not grămer-sy. A word formerly used to express thankfulness with surprise.

Granary—grăna-ry, not grāna-ry. There are no such words as grainery and grainary.

Gratis—grātis, not grăt-is.

Grenade—gre-nāde, not grĕnade. A kind of explosive shell.

Guardian—grdĭ-an, not gr-dēan.

Guerdon—grdon, not gwĕrdon nor jĕrdon. A reward; a recompense.

Guild—gĭld, not gīld. A society; a fraternity.

Guipure—ge-pūr, not gĭm-pūre nor gwĭ-pūre. An imitation of antique lace.

Gunwale—commonly pronounced gŭnnel and spelled so sometimes.

Gutta-percha—gŭtta-prcha, not gŭtta-prka.

Gyrfalcon—jrfaw-kn, not jērfăl-kun.



Habitue (Fr. habitu)—-bĭt-u-ā, not hăb-it-u-ē nor hăb-ĭt-u-ā.

Halloo (hal-lōō), holla (hŏll), hollo (hŏllō or hŏl-lō) or hollow (hŏllōw), but not hŏller. Worcester gives halloo (hal-lōō), holla (hŏl-l), hollo (hŏl-lō) and hollow (hŏllōw or hŏl-lōw). It is strange that with such a variety of words to choose from, people generally say "holler."

Hanged is preferable to hung, when the infliction of the death penalty by hanging is meant.

Harass—hărass, not ha-răss.

Harem—hārem, not hărem. Worcester gives hrem also. Written also haram (ha-răm).

Hardly. Don't and can't should not be used with hardly. Such errors as, "I don't hardly believe it," are not uncommon. Hardly means scarcely, and the use of don't or can't gives an opposite signification to the sentence.

Haunt—hnt, not hănt.

Haunted—hnted, not hănted.

Hawaiian—ha-wīyan, not ha-wawyan. Relating to the island of Hawaii.

Hearth—hrth, not hrth.

Hearth-stone—hrthstone, not hrthstone.

Heather—hĕther, not hēther. Worcester gives hēther as the pronunciation.

Heinous—hānus, not hēnus, hēnyus nor hānyus.

Herb—rb, not hrb.

[Pg 25] Herbaceous—her-bāshus, not er-bāshus.

Herbage—rbej or hĕrbej, not hĕrbāje.

Heroine—hĕro-ĭn, not hē-ro-īne nor hēro-ĭn. Worcester gives the first and the last of the above.

Heroism—hĕro-izm, not hēro-ĭzm. Worcester sanctions both.

Hieroglyphic—hī-er-o-glĭfik, not hī-er-o-grĭfik.

Hindoostanee} Hindustani  } hin-dōō-stănee, not hin-dōōstăn-ee. Worcester's orthography is Hindostanee and Hindostany, but the accent is on the penult as above.

Homage—hŏmaje, not ŏm-aje.

Homeopathy—hō-me-ŏpa-thy, not hōme-o-păth-y.

Homeopathist—hō-me-ŏpa-thist, not hōme-o-păth-ist.

Hooping-cough—hōōping-cough, not hŏŏping-cough. Spelled Whooping-cough, also.

Horizon—ho-rīzon, not hŏri-zon.

Horse-radish—horse-răd-ish, not horse-rĕd-dish.

Hough—hŏk, not hŭff. To disable by cutting the sinews of the ham. As a noun, the word means the joint at the lower portion of the leg of a quadruped; written hock, also.

Houri—howry, not owry. A nymph of paradise.

Hovel—hŏvel, not hŭvel.

Hundred, as spelled, not hunderd.

Hydropathy—hī-drŏpa-thy, not hīdrō-păth-y.

Hydropathist—hī-drŏpa-thist, not hīdrō-păth-ist.

Hygiene—hīji-ēne, not hī-geen nor hīgeen. Worcester authorizes the first and last.



Illustrate—il-lŭstrate, not ĭllus-trāte. Illustrated, illustrating, illustrative and illustrator, are likewise accented on the second syllable.

Imbroglio—ĭm-brōlyō, not ĭm-brŏlyō. Worcester says ĭm-brōlye-ō.

Immobile—im-mŏbĭl, not ĭm-mōbĭl nor ĭm-mōbīle.

Imperturbable—im-per-trba-ble, not ĭm-per-tōōra-ble, nor ĭm-prtu-ra-ble. Incapable of being disturbed.

Implacable—im-plāka-ble, not ĭm-plăka-ble.

Impotent—impo-tent, not ĭm-pōtent. Impotency and impotence are accented similarly.

Improvise—im-pro-vīze, not ĭmpro-vīze.

Incognito—in-kŏgni-tō, not in-cŏni-to nor in-cŏg-nĭshō. [Pg 26] Incog is an authorized abbreviation. Incognita, is a female in disguise.

Indiscretion—ĭn-dis-krĕshun, not ĭn-dis-krēshun.

Indissoluble—in-dĭsso-lu-ble, not ĭn-dĭs-sŏlu-ble. Indissolubly, etc.

Industry—indus-try, not ĭn-dustry.

Infinitesimal—in-fin-i-tĕsi-mal, not ĭn-fĭn-tĕsi-mal.

Ingenious—ĭn-jēnyŭs, means possessed of genius; skillful, etc.

Ingenuous—ĭn-jĕnyu-us, means noble, open, frank, generous, etc.

Inquiry—in-kwīry, not ĭnkwĭ-ry.

Inveigle—ĭn-vēgle, not ĭn-vāgle. Inveigler (in-vēgler) and inveiglement (in-vēgle-ment).

Irate ī-rāte, not īrāte. Worcester gives the latter.

Irrational—ir-răshun-al, not ĭr-rāshun-al. Irrationally (ĭr-răshun-al-ly), etc.

Irrecognizable—ir-re-kŏgni-za-ble, not ĭr-rĕkog-nī-za-ble.

Irrelevant, not irrevelant. Not applicable; not suited.

Isinglass īzĭng-glass, is a kind of gelatine prepared from the sounds or air-bladders of certain fish, and is used in jellies, for clarifying liquors, etc.; while the transparent substance, frequently called isinglass, which is used in the doors of stoves and lanterns, is really mica, a mineral that admits of being cleaved into thin plates.

Isolate—ĭso-lāte, not īso-late. Isolated (ĭso-lā-ted), etc. Worcester gives ĭzo-lāte, etc.

Itch—ĭtch, not ēch.



Jamb, not jam is the spelling of the side-piece of a door, window or fire-place.

Jaundice—jndĭs, not jan-ders.

Jean—jāne, not jeen. A twilled cotton cloth. Written also jane.

Jew's-harp—jūzhrp, not jūshrp.

Jocund—jŏkund, not jōkund. Jocundity, jocundly, jocundness, have also the short o.

Jugular—jūgu-lar, not jŭgu-lar.

Jujube—jūjūbe, not jūjū-be. "Jujube paste."

Just, not jĕst in such sentences as: "I have just done it;" "He has just enough," etc.



Knoll—nōl, not nŏl.


[Pg 27]L.

Lamm, to beat, is not spelled lăm nor lămb.

Lapel—la-pĕl, not lăpel. That part of a coat which laps over the facing.

Lariat—lări-at, not lāri-at. A lasso.

Lay. This word in the sense here considered is a transitive verb, or one in which the action or state implied by the verb, passes over to an object. The present tense is lay; the imperfect tense and past participle are laid; and the present participle laying. Requiring an object in each of the various meanings attached to it, it is proper to say: "The hen lays an egg every day;" "The man laid his load on the ground;" "The rain has laid the dust;" "The hunter is laying a snare." The verb lie is an intransitive verb and can have no object after it. The present tense is lie; the imperfect tense is lay; the past participle is lain; the present participle is lying. Having no objective case to which the action or state passes over, it is correct to say: "Ohio lies north of Kentucky;" "The sick man lay upon the bed yesterday;" "He has lain there helpless for weeks;" "The goods I bought are lying on my hands." Contrasting the sentences under each verb it will be readily seen that Ohio does not lie Kentucky, but the hen lays the egg; the invalid did not lay the bed like the man laid his load; he has not lain anything, as the rain has laid the dust; and the goods are not lying anything, as the hunter is laying the snare. If the foregoing differences have been carefully observed, I imagine that it will always be easy to select the proper word by remembering the following rules:

1. If the person or thing spoken of exerts an action that must pass over to an object, use lay, laid and laying.

2. If the person or thing spoken of exerts an action that does not pass over to an object, use lie, lay, lain and lying.

"He laid upon the bed," then, is incorrect, for the verb has no object. It should be: "He lay upon the bed." But, "He laid himself upon the bed," would be correct, for there is an objective case, himself, supplied. "Let these papers lay," should be, "Let these papers lie." "The ship lays at anchor," should [Pg 28] be, "The ship lies at anchor." "The ship laid at anchor," should be, "The ship lay at anchor." "They have laid in wait for you," should be, "They have lain in wait for you." "This trunk is laying in our way," should be, "This trunk is lying in our way." Errors connected with the use of these verbs are more common, probably, than any others in our language, being detected in the conversation and writings of many of the best educated people. Attention to the above rules, and a few trial sentences in the different moods, tenses, numbers and persons, ought to make the selection of the proper word so simple, that persons should seldom make mistakes.

Learn. Learning is done by the scholar or student, and teaching by the instructor. "She will learn me how to play," should be, "She will teach me how to play," etc.

Leasing—leezing, not lēsing. An obsolete word meaning falsehood; lying. "Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing."—Bible.

Leg. Of late years there has become quite popular a prudish notion that it is indelicate to say leg when one of the limbs that supports the human body is meant, limb being preferred instead. Leg is certainly a less euphonious word than limb, and if the latter had the same signification attached to it, there would be no objection to its employment; but limb means arm just as much as it does leg. There is nothing immodest in the sound or meaning of the word leg; if there were, it would be well to speak of the limb of a table, a limb of mutton, or a three limbed stool; and the mention of such words as legacy or legate should cause the blush to rise to our cheeks. The very use of the word limb indicates what is passing in the mind of the speaker—a thought of leg, an indelicate meaning attached to it, and a fear to speak the word. The mind of the listener is affected similarly and the result is that a conversation intended to be perfectly pure, has a slight stain left upon it. If we could pass through life without ever finding it necessary to speak of our legs to strangers, there would be no danger of compromising ourselves; but run-away and other accidents [Pg 29] are constantly occurring in which legs are broken or otherwise injured. When a surgeon is called, if he is told that a limb is injured, he has one chance in four of guessing the riddle. It is not always safe to trifle thus with some of the serious, practical old followers of Esculapius. Before now they have given such rebukes as to make people ashamed that they did not say leg in the first place; or they have left the bedside abruptly with such a remark as: "When you find out whether it is your arm or your leg, send for me again." If people will persist in using limb for leg, it is to be hoped that they will adopt some adjective prefix to remove all ambiguity. How would north-east, south-east, etc., do? Any one informed that the south-east limb was fractured, would know at once that it was the right leg.

Legate—lĕgate, not lēgāte.

Legendary—lĕjend-a-ry, not lējĕnd-a-ry.

Leisure—lēzhur, not lĕzhur, nor lāzhur. Leisurely (lēzhur-ly).

Length, not lĕnth. Every letter is sounded, also, in lengthy, lengthen, lengthiness, etc.

Lenient—lēni-ent, not lĕni-ent. Leniently (lēni-ent-ly), etc.

Lethe—lēthe, not lēth; the th is as in both. The mythological and poetical name of a river of the infernal region, the drinking of a portion of which caused forgetfulness of the past.

Lethean—lē-thēan, not lēthe-an.

Let's. It should be remembered that let's is really let us, the apostrophe denoting the elision of the u. Such expressions then as: "let's us go," "let's him and me go," should he, "let us go" (or let's go), and "let him and me go;" for who wishes to say "let us us go," or "let us him and me go."

Leverage—lĕver-aje, not lēver-aje.

Licorice—lĭko-rĭs, not lĭker-ĭsh.

Lie. See Lay.

Lien—lēen or līen, not leen. A charge upon property for the satisfaction of a debt.

Lighted is preferable to lĭt as the imperfect tense and past participle of light. "He lighted the gas," instead of, "He lit the gas." "I have lighted the fire," instead of, "I have lit the fire." The same remarks [Pg 30] apply to the imperfect and participle of light taken as an intransitive verb. "The bird has lighted upon the tree," instead of, "has lit upon the tree." Lit is condemned as common.

Lithographer—lĭ-thogra-pher, not lĭtho-grăph-er, nor lī-thŏgra-pher. Lithography (lĭ-thŏgra-phy).

Loath—lōth, not lŏth; the th is as in both. Reluctant. Written sometimes loth. The verb is loathe, with the th as in breathe.

Lyceum—lī-sēum, not līse-um.



Machiavelian—măk-i-a-vēlian, not măsh-i-a-vĕlian. pertaining to Machiavel; politically cunning.

Mad. In the sense of provoked, wrathful or indignant, angry is generally considered the more appropriate word. "Mad as a March hare," is an indelicate term that should not be used on account of its origin.

Madame—m-dm, not mădam.

Magna Charta—magna krta, not magna chrta.

Manes—mānēz, not mānz. The souls of the dead.

Manor—mănor, not mānor.

Marigold—mări-gold, not māri-gold.

Matin—mătin, not mātin.

Matins—mătinz, not mātinz.

Mattress—măttress, not ma-trăss. Written also matress and pronounced as the first.

Meaw—mū, not meyow. To cry like a cat.

Mediocre—medi-ō-ker, not mē-di-ōker, nor mē-di-ŏker.

Melange—mā-lŏngzh, not me-lănj.

Melanotype—me-lăno-type, not me-lāno-type.

Melodrama—mĕl-o-drāma, not mĕl-o-drăma, nor mĕl-o-drma.

Memoir—mĕmwor or mēmwor, according to Webster; Worcester gives mē-moir or mĕmwr.

Mesdames—mā-dm, not mĕz-dāmes.

Metallurgy—mĕtal-lur-jy, not me-tăllur-jy.

Metaphor. The failure to distinguish between metaphors and similes, is a very common mistake. In a metaphor the resemblance is implied without any words to show the similarity; as soon as the latter are added it becomes a simile. "Hope is an anchor," and "Judah is a lion's whelp" are metaphors. "Hope is like an anchor," and "Judah is like a lion's whelp" are similes.

[Pg 31] Metrical—mĕtrik-al, not mētrik-al.

Mezzo—mĕdzō or mĕtzō, not mĕzzō. An Italian word meaning middle; not extreme. Mezzo-soprano (mĕdzo-so-prno); between contralto and soprano; said of the voice of a female singer. Mezzotinto, etc.

Microscope—mīkro-scope, not mĭkro-scope. Microscopic (mī-kro-scŏpic). Microscopy (mī-krosco-py).

Mien—meen, not māne.

Mineralogy—min-er-alo-jy, not min-er-ŏlo-jy.

Minuet—mĭnū-et, not mĭn-ū-ĕt. A dance.

Mischievous—mĭsche-vŭs, not mĭs-chēvŭs, nor mis-chēve-us. Mischievously and mischievousness are also accented on the first syllable.

Modulate. This word is often used incorrectly instead of moderate in such sentences as: "Modulate your voice," when it is meant to command or request that the tone be moderated or lowered. Modulate means to vary or inflect in a musical manner, and although the word might often be used with propriety in such sentences as the above, yet it is not always what is meant by the speaker. A person's voice may be perfectly modulated and yet the tone may be so high that it is desirable, upon certain occasions, to have it moderated.

Moire—mwr, not mōre nor mōre. Moire antique (mwor ăn-tēk).

Molasses. It may seem incredible to those who have never heard the error I am about to mention, that such a ridiculous blunder could occur. I should hardly have believed it myself, if I had only heard of it; but I was once in a portion of the country where all the people for miles around spoke of molasses as if it were a plural noun, and I frequently heard such remarks as the following: "These molasses are very good; they are the best I have seen for some time." I once began to remonstrate with one of the champions of the plurality of the treacle, and insisted that he should say, "this molasses" and, "it is good," etc.; but it was of no avail. He insisted that the word was analogous to ashes, and if one was plural so was the other. There was no good dictionary or other reliable authority in the neighborhood, as might be imagined [Pg 32] from what has been said, so they were left happy in their ignorance.

Monad—mŏnad, not mōnad. An ultimate atom.

Monogram—mŏno-gram, not mōno-gram.

Monograph—mŏno-graph, not mōno-graph.

Monomania—mŏn-o-mānia, not mō-no-mānia. Monomaniac (mŏn-o-māni-ac).

Moor—mōōr, not mōre. An extensive waste; a heath. Moor, the name of a native of North Africa, is similarly pronounced.

Morale—mo-rl, not mŏrāle nor mō-răl.

Mountainous—mountain-ous, not moun-tāni-oŭs.

Multiplication—mŭl-ti-pli-cātion, not mŭl-ti-pi-cātion.

Murrain—mŭrrĭn, not mŭrrāne. A disease among cattle.

Museum—mu-zēum, not mūze-um.

Mushroom, not mush-roon.

Musk-melon, not mush-melon; but anything before mush-million.

Mussulmans, not musselmen, is the plural of Mussulman.

Mythology—mĭ-thŏlo-jy, not mī-thŏlo-jy.



Naiad—nāyad, not nāĭd nor nāăd. A water nymph.

Nainsook—nān-sōōk, not năn-sōōk. A kind of muslin.

Naive—nēv, not nāve nor nve. Natural; artless.

Naivete—nēv-tā, not nā-vēte nor nā-vēta.

Nape—nāp, not năp. The back part of the neck.

Nasal—nāzal, not nāsal nor năsal.

Nasturtium or Nasturtion, not asturtion.

Negligee—nĕg-li-zhā, not nĕg-li-jē, nor nĕgli-zhā.

Newspaper—nūzpā-per, not nūspā-per.

Niche—nĭch, not nĭck, when a concave recess in a wall for an ornament is meant. If a piece is chopped roughly out of anything, it is a nick. Nick of time, not niche of time, when a critical moment is meant; but in figurative language there is no doubt that the phrase "niche of time," may be appropriately used. A great event may be said to stand in a niche of time as an example for coming ages.

Nomad—nŏmad, not nō-mad. One of a wandering tribe. Written nomade (nŏmade) also.

Nomenclature—no-men-clāture, not nōmen-clātūre.

Nominative, not nom-a-tive.

[Pg 33] Nonillion—nō-nĭllion, not nŏn-ĭllion.

Nook—nōōk, as given by Webster. Worcester sanctions both nōōk and nŏŏk.

Notable—nŏta-ble, not nōta-ble, when it is applied to a person distinguished for thrift, management, care, etc.; as a notable housekeeper.

Nymphean—nĭm-fēan, not nĭmfe-an. Relating to nymphs.



Obesity—o-bĕsi-ty, not o-bēsi-ty.

Obligatory—ŏbli-ga-to-ry, not ŏb-lĭga-to-ry.

Often—ŏfn, not ŏftĕn.

Omega—o-mēga or o-mĕga, not ŏme-ga. Worcester allows the first only.

Onerous—ŏner-ous, not ōner-oŭs.

Only—ōnly, not ŭnly.

Onyx—ōnyx, not ŏnyx.

Opal—ō-pal, not ō-păl nor ō-pawl.

Opponent—op-pōnent, not ŏppo-nent.

Ordnance, not ordinance, when cannon, artillery, etc., are intended. Ordinance is a rule established by authority.

Orgeat—rzhat or rzhā, not rje-at. Worcester gives rzhat.

Orthoepy—rtho-e-py, not r-thōe-py.

Orthoepist—rtho-e-pist, not r-thōe-pist.

Overflowed, not overflown.



Palaver—pa-lver, not pa-lăver.

Pall-mall—pĕl-mĕl, not pawl-mawl. The name of a game formerly played in England; and the name of a street in London. Written also pail-mail and pell-mell, both pronounced as above. Pell-mell used as an adverb means mixed together in a disorderly manner; but one person can not rush pell-mell.

Papaw—pa-paw, not pŏppaw as commonly called. Written also pawpaw.

Papyrus—pa-pīrus, not păpi-rŭs. A material used for writing upon by the ancients, made from the inner bark of a plant.

Parent—prent, not pārent.

Parisian—pa-rĭzian, not pa-rĭshian nor pa-rĭssian. Worcester gives pa-rĭzhi-an.

Paroquet—păro-quet, not păr-o-kĕt.

Parquet—pr-kā or pr-kĕt. Worcester allows pr-kā only.

Parquette—pr-ket, not pr-kā.

Partner, not pardner.

Partridge, not pattrij.

[Pg 34] Patent. The adjective is pronounced either pătent or pātent. When used as a verb or a noun it is pronounced pătent.

Patois—păt-wŏ, not pătwŏ nor păt-waw.

Patriot—pātri-ot, not pătri-ot. Patriotic, patriotism, etc., have also the long a. Worcester gives the same with the exception of patriotic, which he pronounces both pātri-ot-ic and pătri-ot-ic.

Patron—pātron, not pătron. Patroness and patronless have also the long a.

Patronize—pătron-īze, not pātron-īze.

Patronage—pătron-aje, not pātron-aje.

Pease, not peas, when an uncounted quantity is referred to, as: a bushel of pease, a plateful of pease, some more pease, etc. Peas when a certain number is mentioned, as: a dozen peas, fifty peas, etc.

Pedal—pĕdal, not pēdal, when that portion of a piano or harp that is acted upon by the feet, is meant. Pēdal is an adjective, and means pertaining to the above, or to a foot.

Perfect. I have selected this as the representative of a class of adjectives that, strictly speaking, do not admit of comparison. I have noticed, invariably, that those who appear to be so anxious to correct the error of giving degrees of comparison to a few stereotyped words of this class, such as round, square, universal, chief, extreme, etc., are singularly remiss in calling attention to a great many other mistakes of the same kind that are equally prominent. Amongst the latter may be mentioned the comparison of correct, complete, even, level, straight, etc. It will be admitted that if anything is perfect it can not be more so; and as soon as it is less so it fails to be perfect at all. So, if anything is correct it is perfectly free from error; it can not be made more correct, and if its correctness is detracted from, it is not quite correct any longer. A straight line is one that does not vary from a perfectly direct course in the slightest degree; it can not be straighter and if it could be less straight, it would be curved. It is ridiculous for any one to insist upon a national reformation of a few such errors, and suffer a hundred others just like them to exist without remonstrance. Either nearer and nearest, more nearly, and most nearly, [Pg 35] and the like, should be substituted for the degrees of comparison and used with all such words; or people should treat them as all other adjectives, just as the best writers and speakers have always done. The former course is the more desirable; the latter is certainly the more probable.

Perfidious—per-fĭdi-ous, not pĕrfĭd-oŭs. Worcester allows per-fĭdyŭs in addition to the first.

Peony—pēo-ny) Pony (pēo-ny) or Piony (pīo-ny) not pīny as often called. A flower.

Perambulate, not preambulate.

Period—pēri-od, not pĕri-od. Periodic, Periodical, etc., have also the long e.

Perspire, not prespire.

Perspiration, not prespiration.

Persuade. This word carries with it the idea of success in one's endeavors to convince or induce. "I persuaded him for a long time, but he would not grant my request," should be, "I tried to persuade him," etc.

Petrel—pĕtrel, not pētrel. A bird. Worcester allows the latter also.

Phaeton—phāet-on, not phā'te-on. A vehicle.

Pharmaceutist—fr-ma-sūtĭst, not fr-mā-kūtist nor fr-mākū-tist.

Pharmacopœia—fr-ma-co-pēya, not fr-mā-cōpi-a.

Piano—pi-no, not pī-ăno. Worcester allows pĭ-ăno.

Piano-forte—pĭ-no-fōrtā, not pī-ăno-fōrt. Worcester sanctions pĭ-no-fōrte, pĭ-ăno-fr-te, and remarks in parenthesis, often pe-ăno-fōrt; but the last pronunciation is evidently not preferred.

Pilaster—pĭ-lăster, not pĭlas-ter. A square pillar set into a wall and projecting slightly.

Piquant—pĭkant, not pĭkwănt nor pēkwănt. Piquantly (pĭkant-ly), etc.

Placard—pla-krd, not plăkard.

Placid—plăsid, not plāsid. Placidly and placidness have also the short a.

Plait—plāt, not plăt nor plēt. A braid; or to braid. Plat (plăt) is a proper word, however, having the same meanings, but the difference in pronunciation must be observed, when the spelling is as above. Plait, meaning a fold of cloth, as in a shirt bosom, is also pronounced plāt. How common an error it is to [Pg 36] speak of the pleets when alluding to such folds.

Platina—plăti-na or pla-tēna, not pla-tīna nor pla-tĭna. Worcester allows plăti-na only.

Platinum—plăti-num or pla-tīnum, not pla-tēnum nor pla-tĭnum. Worcester gives plăti-num only.

Plebeian—ple-bēian, not plēbi-an. Ple-bŏn, as some pronounce it, is outrageous, neither French, English, nor Hottentot.

Plenary—plēna-ry, not plĕna-ry. Full; entire. Worcester gives both methods.

Poetaster—pōet-ăs-ter, not pōet-tāst-er. A petty poet.

Poniard—pŏnyard, not poinyard.

Posthumous—pŏsthu-mous, not pōsthu-moŭs nor pŏst-ūmoŭs. Posthumously (pŏsthu-mous-ly).

Potable—pōta-ble, not pŏta-ble. Drinkable.

Potheen—po-theen, not pŏt-teen. When spelled potteen, however, as it may be correctly, the latter pronunciation is proper.

Prairie—prāry, not per-rāry.

Prebendary—prĕbend-a-ry, not prēbend-a-ry. A clergyman of a collegiate or cathedral church, who enjoys a prebend.

Prebend—prĕbend, not prēbend. A stipend.

Precedence—pre-sēdence, not prĕse-dence. Precedency and precedently, have the second syllable accented also.

Precedent—pre-sēdent, not prĕse-dent. An adjective meaning antecedent.

Precedent—prĕse-dent, not pre-sēdent nor prēse-dent. A noun meaning an example or preceding circumstance. Precedented and unprecedented have also the short e.

Precocious—pre-kōshus, not pre-kŏshŭs. Precociously and precociousness have also the long o.

Predatory—prĕda-to-ry, not prēda-tory. Plundering; pillaging.

Predecessor—prĕd-e-cĕssor, not prē-de-cĕssor.

Preface—prĕface, not prēface. Prefatory (prĕfa-to-ry).

Prejudice, not predudice.

Prelate—prĕlate, not prē-late.

Presage, not prestige, when something is meant that foreshows a future event; an omen. "This is a presage of victory."

Prescription, not perscription.

Prestige, not presage, when it is meant that some one carries weight or influence [Pg 37] from past deeds or successes. "The prestige of the hero's name was half the battle."

Presentiment—pre-senti-ment, not pre-zenti-ment.

Pretty—prĭtty, not prĕty. Prettily (prĭtti-ly), etc.

Preventive, not preventative.

Primeval—prī-mēval, not prĭme-val.

Process—prŏsess, not prōsess.

Prodigy, not projidy.

Produce—prŏduce, not prōdūce. The noun; the verb is pro-dūce.

Product—prŏduct, not prōduct.

Progress—prŏgress, not progress. Noun; the verb is pro-gress.

Prosody—prŏso-dy, not prōso-dy nor prŏzo-dy.

Protean—prōte-an, not pro-tēan. Assuming different shapes.

Protege (Fr. protg)—prō-tā-zhā, not prōtēje. One under the care of another. Protegee (Fr. protge)—prō-tā-zhā, feminine.

Psalm—sm, not săm. Psalmist (smist). Worcester gives sămist also for the latter word.

Psalmody—sălmo-dy, not smo-dy nor săm-o-dy.

Psychical—sīkĭk-al, not sĭkĭk-al nor fĭzĭk-al, as it is sometimes thoughtlessly pronounced in reading. Pertaining to the human soul.

Pumpkin, not punkin. Pumpkin itself is a corruption of pumpion or pompion, but is the word that is now generally used.

Purulent—pūru-lent, not pŭru-lent. Containing pus or matter. Purulence and purulency have also the long u in the first syllable.

Put—pŏŏt, not pŭt. This anomalous pronunciation is hard for some to adopt, the natural tendency being to sound the u as it is in a host of other words consisting of two consonants with a short u between them, as: bun, but, cut, dug, fun, gun, hut, nut, etc.

Pyrites—pī-rītez, not pe-rītez, pĭri-tez nor pīrītez.



Qualm—kwm, not kwăm. Worcester allows kwawm also.

Quay—kē, not kwā.

Querulous, means complaining, whining, etc., and not questioning.

Quinine—kwīnīne or kwĭ-nīne, not kwi-neen. Worcester gives kwĭ-nīne or kwĭnīne.


Quoit—kwoit, not kwāte.

Quoth—kwōth or kwŭth, not kwŏth.


[Pg 38]R.

Rabies—rābi-ēz, not răbēz. Madness, as that of dogs.

Radish—rădish, not rĕd-ish.

Raillery—răller-y, not rāller-y. Slight ridicule; pleasantry.

RaiseRise. Raise is a transitive verb, or one in which the action passes over to an object. Present tense, raise; imperfect tense and past participle, raised; present participle, raising. Rise is an intransitive verb, the action not passing over to an object. Present tense, rise; imperfect tense, rose; past participle, risen; present participle, rising. Errors in the use of these words ought to be avoided by remembering the following rules:

1. If the person or thing spoken of exerts an action that passes over to an object, use raise, raised, and raising.

2. If the person or thing spoken of exerts an action that does not pass over to an object, use rise, rose, risen, rising. To avoid further repetition in the method I have adopted to impress upon the mind the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs by contrasted sentences, I would refer the reader to the remarks under Lay. "I will raise in the morning at five," should be, "I will rise," etc. "I will raise the window," etc., is correct, for the action passes to or affects the window. "I will raise myself if I have the strength" is correct, because an object, myself, is furnished. "The price of flour is raising," should be, "The price of flour is rising;" but it is right to say, "The merchants are raising the price of flour." "Gold has raised in value," should be, "Gold has risen in value." "The price of bonds raised in less than an hour," should be, "The price of bonds rose," etc. "The sun is raising," should be, "The sun is rising." "The sun is raising the temperature," is proper. The pulse has risen, but excitement has raised it. The river has risen in its bed and has raised the canal. Birds rise in the air. Arise can often be appropriately substituted for rise.

Rampant—rămpant, not ram-pant.

Rapine—răpĭn, not răpeen nor rā-peen.

Raspberry—răzber-ry, not răssber-ry nor rawzber-ry. [Pg 39] Worcester gives razber-ry and rsber-ry.

Rational—răshun-al, not rā-shun-al. Rationalist (răshun-al-ĭst), etc.

Recess—re-cĕss, not rēcĕss.

Recherche (Fr. recherch)—rŭh-shr-shā, not re-shersh. Worcester gives rā-sher-shā.

Recluse—re-kluse, not re-kluze.

Reconnoissance—re-cŏnnoĭs-sne, not rek-on-noissane. Worcester gives re-cŏnnoĭs-sne. Reconnaissance is another method of spelling.

Recriminations, not mutual recriminations; the word itself tells of the mutuality.

Redolent—rĕdo-lent, not redōlent. Diffusing odor or fragrance.

Relevant, not revelant. Pertinent; applicable.

Relic, not relict, when that which remains, a corpse, or anything preserved in remembrance, is meant. Relict means a widow.

Rendezvous—rĕnde-vōō, not rŏnde-vōō nor rĕnde-vōōz. Worcester gives rĕnde-vōō and rĕnde-vōōz. The plural is rendezvouses (rĕnde-vōōz-ez).

Requiem—rēkwi-em, not rĕkwĭ-em. Worcester gives both pronunciations.

Resume (Fr. rsum)—rā-zū-mā, not re-zūme nor re-zūmā. Worcester gives rez-u-mā.

Reticule, not ridicule, when a little bag of net-work is meant.

Reveille—re-vālyā, not rev-a-lē. Worcester gives the first and re-vāl.

Ribald—rĭbald, not rībald. Low; obscene. Ribaldry (rĭbald-ry).

Rinse—rĭnss, not rĕnse nor wrĕnch. "Wrench your mouth," said an uneducated dentist to a patient after wrenching out a large molar. "Thank you," replied the patient. "You have done that, but I'll rinse it, if you please."

Ripples, not riffles.

Romance—ro-manss, not rōmanss.

Roseate—rōze-at, not rōzāte. Worcester gives rōzhe-at also.

Roue (Fr. rou)—rōō-ā, not rōō. Worcester gives rōōā.



Sacerdotal—săs-er-dōtal, not sā-ser-dōtal, sā-ker-dōtal nor săk-er-dōtal.

Sacrament—săkra-ment, not sākra-ment. Sacramental (săkra-ment-al), etc.

Sacrifice—săkrĭ-fīz, not săkrĭ-fĭs nor săkrĭ-fīse. [Pg 40] Verb and noun the same. Sacrificing (săkrĭ-fī-zĭng), etc.

Sacristan—săkrist-an, not sākrist-an nor sā-krĭstan. Sacristy (săkrist-y).

Salam—sa-lm, not sa-lăm. Written salaam also, and pronounced similarly.

Saline—sa-līne or sālīne, not sā-lēēn. Worcester gives sa-līne only.

Salve—sv, not săv. Worcester gives slv also.

Samaritan—sa-mări-tan, not sa-māri-tan.

Sanitary, not sanatory, when pertaining to health is meant. Sanatory is more restricted in its application, and means healing; curative.

Saracen—săra-sen, not săra-ken.

Sarsaparilla—sr-sa-pa-rĭlla, not săs-sa-pa-rĭlla, nor sr-sa-fa-rĭlla.

Satyr—sātur, according to Webster. Worcester gives sătir also.

Saucy—sawsy, not sassy.

Said. Said (sĕd), not says (sĕz), in speaking of past remarks. Many of the most cultivated people are guilty of this vulgarism. "'I will call to see you soon,' sez he." "'I will be glad to see you at any time,' sez I." Where the details of a long conversation are given the frequent repetition of sez, or even said, is very grating to the refined ear. The use of asked, inquired, remarked, suggested, answered, replied, etc., instead, has a pleasing effect upon narrative or anecdote. It is preferable, also, to give the exact words of the speaker after said, etc., as: "When he had finished reading the letter, he said: 'I will attend to the business the first leisure moment I have.'" When the word that follows the said, the substance only of the remark may be given, as "He said that he would attend to the business the first leisure moment he had." Whichever form is used in narrative, it is not at all harmonious to give the exact words of one speaker and only the substance of the remarks of another, at least without regard to regularity in alternation.

Schism—sĭzm, not skĭsm.

Seckel, not sĭck-el. A kind of pear.

See. It is not uncommon to meet with people that incorrectly use see in the imperfect tense, as: "I see him yesterday," instead of, "I saw him yesterday." See is never used in any tense but the present, without [Pg 41] an auxiliary, as did, shall, etc.

Seignior—sēnyur, not sānyor.

Seine—sēn, not sān. A net for catching fish.

Senile—sēnīle, not sĕnīle. Pertaining to old age.

Separate, not seperate. The loss of the a is not noticed in the pronunciation, but the mistake frequently occurs in writing this word as it does in the words inseparable, inseparableness, separation, etc.

Servile—srvĭl, not srvīle.

Set. Noun. There are many who incorrectly use sett in writing of a set of dishes, a set of chess-men, a set of teeth, or of some other collection of things of the same kind. A sett is a piece placed upon the head of a pile for striking upon, when the pile can not be reached by the weight or hammer.

SetSit. Blunders in the use of these words are amongst the most common we have. Set, as we shall first consider it, is a transitive verb, or one in which the action passes over to an object. Present tense, set; imperfect tense and past participle, set; present participle, setting. Sit is an intransitive verb, or one which has no object after it. Present tense, sit; imperfect tense and past participle, sat; present participle, sitting.

To avoid repetition as much as possible, I would refer any one to whom the explanation here given is not perfectly clear, to the rules and remarks under Lay and Raise, which are equally applicable here. "Will you set on this chair?" should be, "Will you sit on this chair?" "Will you set this chair in the other room?" is correct. "I set for my picture yesterday," should be, "I sat," etc. "This hat sets well," should be, "This hat sits well." "Court sets next month," should be, "Court sits next month." "The hen has been setting for a week," should be, "The hen has been sitting," etc. "As cross as a setting hen," should be, "As cross as a sitting hen." But a person may set a hen; that is, place her in position on eggs. One sits up in a chair, but he sets up a post. One sits down on the ground, but he sets down figures. Set is also an intransitive verb and has special meanings attached to it as such, but they may be readily understood [Pg 42] by a little study of the dictionary, and no confusion need arise. The sun sets. Plaster of Paris sets. A setter dog sets. One sets out on a journey. Sit may also be used in two senses as a transitive verb, as: "The general sits his horse well," and "The woman sat herself down."

Sew—sō, not sū.

Shampoo, not shampoon. Shampooing. Written also champoo.

Shekel—shĕkel, not shēkel.

Shumac—shūmak, not shū-mak. Written also sumac and sumach, both accented on the first syllable.

Sick of, not sick with, as sick of a fever.

Sienna—si-ĕnna, not senna, when paint is meant. Senna is a plant used as medicine.

Simultaneous—sī-mul-tāne-ous, not sĭmul-tāne-oŭs. Simultaneously (sī-mul-tāne-ous-ly), etc.

Since, not sence.

Sinecure—sīne-cure, not sĭne-cure. An office which yields revenue without labor.

Sit. See Sat.

Slake—slāke, not slăk, when the word is spelled as given, as: slaked lime, to slake one's thirst, etc. If spelled slack, the ordinary pronunciation is right.

Slough—slow, not slōō nor slō. A mudhole. Written sloo (slōō) also.

Slough—slŭf, not as above. The cast skin of a serpent. Dead flesh which separates from the living. The verb expressing this action is pronounced the same.

Sobriquet—so-bri-kā, not written soubriquet. Worcester pronounces it sŏbrē-kā.

Soften—sŏffn, not sawften.

Sonnet—sŏnnet, not sŭnnet.

Soot—sōōt or sŏŏt, not sŭt.

Soporific—sŏp-o-rĭfik, not sō-por-ĭfik.

Sotto voce—sŏttō vōchā, not sŏtto vōs nor sŏttō vōsē.

Souse—souss, not sowze. To plunge into water.

Spasmodic, not spasmotic.

Spectacles—spĕkta-kls, not spĕktĭkels.

Spermaceti—sperm-a-sētĭ, not sperm-a-ĭty.

Spider, not spiter.

Splenetic—splĕne-tic, not sple-nĕtic. Fretful; peevish.

Spoliation—spō-li-ātion, not spoil-ation.

Spurious—spūri-ous, not spŭri-oŭs. Spuriously (spūri-ous-ly), etc.

Statical—stăti-cal, not stāti-cal. Pertaining to bodies at rest.

[Pg 43] Stationery, not stationary, when paper, envelopes, ink, etc., are meant.

Statue, not statute, when a carved image is meant.

Statute, not statue, when a law or decree is meant.

Stearine—stēa-rĭn, not stĕrĭn.

Stereoscope (stēre-o-scope), Stereotype (stēre-o-type), etc., according to Webster; and stĕre-o-scope, stĕr-e-o-type, etc., according to Worcester.

Stolid—stŏlid, not stōlid. Stupid; dull.

Stratum—strātum, not strătum. Strata (strāta), the Latin plural is used much more than the English stratums. Errors like "a strata of gravel," are also not infrequently heard.

Strategic—stra-tējik, not străte-jĭk. Strategical (stra-tēji-cal) and strategist (străte-jist). Worcester gives stra-tĕjic and stra-tĕji-cal.

Strum or Thrum should be used, and not drum, when the noisy and unskillful fingering of a musical instrument is meant.

Stupendous—stu-pendŭs, not stu-pĕnjŭs nor stu-pĕnde-us.

Suavity—swăvĭ-ty, not swvĭ-ty nor suăvi-ty.

Subtraction, not substraction, when the act of deducting is meant. Substraction is a law term meaning the withholding of some right, for which, however, the word subtraction is also used. Subtract, not substract.

Subtile—sŭbtĭl, not sŭttle.

Subtle—sŭttle, not sŭbtle.

Suffice—sŭf-fīz, not sŭf-fīs.

Suicidal—sū-i-sīdal, not sū-ĭsi-dal. Worcester placed the principal accent on the first syllable.

Suite—sweet, not sūte. When the word suit is used, however, the latter pronunciation is correct.

Sulphurous—sŭlphur-ŭs, not sul-phūrŭs nor sŭl-phūre-us. Sulphureous is another word.

Summoned, not summonsed.

Supersede, superseded, superseding. Observe the s in the penultimate. It is a common error to write supercede, etc.

Supposititious—sup-pos-i-tĭshus, not sup-po-sĭshus. Put by a trick in the place of another, as, a supposititious child, a supposititious record.

Surtout—sŭr-tōōt, not sŭr-towt nor sŭrtōōt.

Swath—swawth, not swawthe. Worcester gives swŏth. The sweep of the scythe in mowing.


[Pg 44]T.

Tabernacle—tăber-na-cle, not tăber-năkcle.

Tapestry—tăpes-try, not tāpĕs-try.

Tarlatan—trla-tan, not trltun. Tartan is a different material.

Tarpaulin—tr-pawlin, not tr-pōlin. Written also tarpauling and tarpawling.

Tartaric—tar-tăric, not tar-tric. Pertaining to or obtained from tartar, as tartaric acid.

Tassel—tăssel, not tawsel. Worcester gives tŏssl also.

Tatterdemalion—tăt-ter-de-mălion, not tăt-ter-de-mālion.

Telegraphy—te-lĕgra-phy, not tĕle-grăph-y.

Telegraphist—te-lĕgra-phist, not tele-grăph-ist. A telegraphic operator. No such word as telegrapher is given.

Terpsichorean—terp-sĭk-o-rēan, not terp-si-kōre-an. Relating to Terpsichore (terp-siko-re), the muse who presided over dancing.

Tete-a-tete—tāt--tāt, not teet--teet.

Theatre or theater—thēa-ter, not the-āter.

Threshold—thrĕshōld, not thrĕzōld nor thrĕzhold. Worcester gives thrĕshhold.

Thyme—tīm, not as spelled.

Tic-douloureux—tĭkdōō-lōō-rōō, not -dŏl-o-rōō nor -dō-lō-rōō.

Tiny—tīny, not teeny nor tĭny.

Tolu—to-lū, not tūlū.

Tomato—to-māto or to-mto, not to-măto.

Topographic—tŏp-o-graphic, not tō-po-grăphic. Topographical and topographically have also the short o in the first syllable.

Tour—tōōr, not towr.

Tournament—trna-ment according to Webster. Worcester gives tōōrna-ment also.

Toward and towards—tō-ward and tōwardz, not to-ward and to-wardz.

Tragacanth—trăga-kănth, not trăja-sĭnth nor trăga-sănth. A gum used for mucilage.

Traverse—trăverse, not tra-verse. Traversable, traversing and traversed have also the accent on the first syllable.

Tremendous—tre-mĕndŭs, not tre-mĕnde-ŭs nor tre-mĕnjŭs.

Trilobite—trīlo-bīte, not trĭlo-bīte nor trŏllo-bīte, as it is often called.

Troche—trōkee, not trōsh, trōshe, trōke nor trŏtch. Plural, troches (trōkeez). A lozenge composed of sugar, mucilage and medicine, [Pg 45] as: bronchial troches. Trochee—trōkee, is a foot in poetry.

Truculent—trūku-lent, not trŭku-lent.

Truths—truths, not truthz, is the plural of truth.

Tryst—trĭst, not trīst. An appointment to meet. Tryster (trĭster), trysting (trĭsting).

Turbine—trbĭn, not tr-bīne. A kind of water wheel.



Umbrella—um-brĕlla, not um-ber-rĕl nor um-ber-rĕlla.

Upas—ūpăs, not ūpaw nor ūpawz.

Usurp—yū-zurp, not yū-surp. Usurper (yū-zurper), etc.



Vagary—va-gāry, not vā-ga-ry.

Valenciennes—va-lĕnsi-ĕnz, not văl-ĕn-seenz. A French lace.

Valleys, not vallies, is the plural of valley.

Vamos (vmōs), or vamose (va-mōse), not vam-moos. To depart. (Inelegant.)

Vase, according to Webster; vāse or vāze, according to Worcester. The pronunciations vz and vawz are alluded to but not recommended.

Vehemence—vēhe-mence, not ve-hēmence nor ve-hĕmence. Vehemently and vehement have also the accent on the first syllable.

Vermicelli—-vr-me-chĕl-lĭ or vr-me-sĕllĭ, not vr-me-sĭlly. Worcester sanctions the first method only.

Veterinary—vĕter-ĭn-a-ry, not ve-tĕrin-a-ry.

Vicar—vĭkar, not vīkar. Vicarage and vicarship have also the short i in the first syllable.

Violent (vīo-lent), violence (vīo-lence), violet (vīo-let), violin (vī-o-lĭn), etc., not voio-lent, voio-lence, voio-let, voi-o-lin, etc.

Viscount—vīkount, not vĭskount. Viscountess (vīkountess), etc.

Visor—vĭzor, not vīzor.



Wake, etc. Wake is both a transitive and an intransitive verb. Present tense, wake; imperfect and past participle, waked; present participle, waking. Awake is also both transitive and intransitive. Present, awake; imperfect, awoke or awaked; participles, awaked and awaking. Awaken is another verb, both transitive and intransitive. Present, awaken; imperfect and [Pg 46] past participle, awakened; present participle, awakening. Thus it is seen that we have a great many words to express the fact of being in a conscious state, and the arousing of a person who is asleep. With a little attention there is no reason for committing an error in the use of these words. One may say that he waked, awoke, or awakened early in the morning, but it is wrong to say that he woke in the morning, or that he woke another; for there is no such word as woke. "I wakened at five o'clock," should be, "I awakened at five o'clock;" for there is no such word as wakened. Up is used only with wake, waked and waking, but even then it is one of our most senseless superfluities. There is no stronger meaning in the assertion that a man was waked up, than that he was waked or awakened. If waking up meant to wake and make get up, it would be different, but it does not. One may be waked up and it is just as likely that he will go to sleep again as if he were simply awakened. Awake and awaken are more elegant words than wake.

Wassail—wŏssĭl, not wăssĭl. A festive occasion, carousal, the song sung at such a time, etc. The verb and the adjective are spelled and pronounced similarly.

Water—wawter, not wŏter.

Welsh, not Welch. The latter word is seldom used. Welshman, etc.

Whinny, not winny, when the cry of a horse is spoken of.

Whisk, not whist, when a small hand-broom is meant. Wisp, however, is a proper word, meaning the same thing.

Whiting is preferable to whitening.

Widow. It is not necessary to say widow woman; no one will suspect her of being a man.

Wrestle—rĕsl, not răssl.



Yacht—yŏt, not yăt. Yachting (yŏting), etc.

Yeast—yēst, not ēst.

Yellow—yĕllō, not yăllō.



Zoology—zo-ŏlo-jy, not zōō-ŏlo-jy. Zoological (zo-o-lŏji-cal), etc.

[Pg 47]


In the vocabulary just completed, it has been the design to point out the majority of errors occurring in the pronunciation of the words usually selected by people of fair or excellent education to carry on ordinary English discourse. In the portion of the work now under consideration, nothing like such thoroughness is contemplated.

After a moment's reflection, it will appear to any one, that to mention the thousands upon thousands of proper names, the erroneous pronunciation of which is rather to be expected than the correct, would require an elaborate volume. Every one who has striven to become a fine orthoepist has longed for the ability to comprehend the pronunciation of that myriad of names, any one of which is apt to confront him in any book or paper he may chance to pick up. But to become a proficient in this respect would require years of study and a knowledge of the principles of many foreign languages.

Amongst geographical names, for example, who but the specially instructed would think of pronouncing [Pg 48] correctly Goes (hŏŏce), Gelves (hĕlvĕs) or Jalapa (h-lp); or amongst biographical names, Gaj (gī), Geel (hāl) or Geijer (gī'er).

It is fortunate for the reputation of those who bear the name of being good scholars, that errors in the pronunciation of most proper names are excusable, which is not the case with the mistakes that have before been laid down. But there are some proper names, of such constant occurrence in daily lectures, reading and conversation, that errors connected with them are not to be overlooked. It is the intention here, simply to call attention to the more common of these, and to lead the reader to appreciate the fact that if one depends upon the usual power of the English letters to gain a correct pronunciation of proper names, he will be more often led astray than otherwise.

The Authorities consulted are the best—Webster, Worcester, Lippincott's Universal Pronouncing Dictionary of Biography and Mythology and Lippincott's Pronouncing Gazetteer of the World.

[Pg 49]


Abednego—a-bĕdne-gō, not ăb-ĕd-nēgo.

Abiathar—a-bīa-thar, not ab-i-āthar.

Adonibezek—a-dŏn-i-bēzĕk, not a-dŏni-be-zek.

Adonijah—ad-o-nījah, not a-dŏni-jah.

Agee—ăge-ē, not ājē.

Ahasuerus—a-hăs-u-ērus, not a-haz-u-ĕrus.

Aijalon—ăja-lon, not āja-lon.

Akrabattine—ăk-ra-băt-tīne, not ăk-ra-băti-ne.

Alpheus—ăl-phēus, not ălphe-us.

Amasai—a-măsa-ī, not ăm-a-sāī.

Andronicus—an-dron-īcus, not an-drŏni-cus.

Antiochia—an-ti-o-kīa, not an-ti-ōkia.

Ararat—ăra-răt, not āra-răt.

Arimathea—ări-ma-thēa, not ăr-i-māthe-a.

Aristobulus—ăr-is-to-būlus, not ar-is-tŏbu-lus.

Aroer—ăro-er, not a-rōer.

Aroerite—ăro-er-īte, not a-rōer-ĭte.

Asarael—a-săra-el, not az-a-rāel.

Asmodeus—az-mo-dēus, not az-mōde-us.

Beelzebub—be-ĕlze-bub, not bĕlze-bub.

Belial—bēli-al, not be-līal.

Bethhaccerem—bĕth-hăkse-rem, not beth-hăsse-rem.

Bethphage—bĕthpha-jē, not bĕthphāje.

Bethuel—be-thūel, not bĕthu-el.

Cainan—ka-īnan, not kānan.

Cherub (a city)—kērub, not chĕrub.

Chittim—kĭttim, not chĭttim.

Chloe—klōe, not klō.

Crates—krātēz, not krātz.

Cyprians—sĭpri-anz, not sīpri-anz.

Delilah—dĕli-lah, not de-līlah.

Ecbatana—ek-băta-na, not ek-ba-tāna.

Eloi—e-lōī not ēloi.

Esther—ĕster, not ĕsther.

Eumenes—ūme-nēz, not ū-mēnēz.

[Pg 50] Gennesaret—gĕn-nĕsa-rĕt, not jĕn-nĕsa-ret.

Gerar—geĕrar, not jērar.

Idumea—ĭd-u-mēa, not ī-du-mēa.

Iturea—ĭt-u-rēa, not ī-tu-rēa.

Jacubus—ja-kūbus, not jăku-bus.

Jadau—ja-dāu, not jăda-u.

Jairus (Old Test.)—jāi-rus.

Jairus (New Test.)—jā-īrus.

Jearim—jēa-rĭm, not je-ārim.

Jeiel—je-īel, not jēel nor jīel.

Jephthae—jĕphtha-ē, not jĕphtha.

Jeshohaiah—jĕsh-o-ha-īah, not jĕsh-o-hāyah.

Keilah—kēlah, not kīlah nor ke-īlah.

Kolaiah—kŏl-a-īah, not kŏl-āyah.

Labana—lăba-na, not la-bāna.

Lebanah—lĕba-nah, not le-bānah.

Magdalene—măg-da-lēne, not măgda-lēne.

Mahalath—māha-lath, not ma-hālath.

Mardocheus—mar-do-kēus, not mar-dōke-us.

Matthias—măth-thīas, not măththi-as.

Meremoth—mĕre-moth, not me-rēmoth.

Meshach—mēshăk, not mĕshak.

Methuselah—me-thūse-lah, not mĕth-ūze-lah.

Moosias—mo-o-sīas, not mōsi-as.

Nebuchadnezzar—nĕbu-kăd-nezzar, not ne-bŭkkad-nezzar.

Orthosias—r-tho-sīas, not r-thōsi-as.

Othonias—ŏth-o-nīas, not ŏth-ōni-as.

Oziel—ōzi-el, not ō-zīel.

Penuel—pe-nūel, not pĕnū-el.

Perseus—prsūs, not prse-us.

Pethuel—pe-thūel, not pĕthu-el.

Phanuel—pha-nūel, not phănu-el.

Pharaoh—phārō or phāra-ō, not phărō nor phăra-ō.

Philippi—phĭ-lĭppi, not phĭllip-pi.

Philistine—phĭ-lĭstĭn, not phĭlĭs-tīne.

Pontius—pŏnshĭ-us, not pŏnti-us.

Raguel—ra-gūel, not răgu-el.

Sabachthani—sā-băk-thānī, not sa-băktha-nī.

Sathrabuzanes—săth-ra-bu-zānēz, not săth-răbu-zānz.

Shabbethai—shăb-bĕtha-ī, not shăb-bĕth-āī

Shadrach—shādrăk, not shădrăk.

[Pg 51] Shemiramoth—she-mĭra-moth, not shĕm-i-rāmoth.

Shemuel—she-mūel, not shĕmū-el.

Sinai—sīā, not sīnā-ī.

Zaccheus—zak-kēus, not zăkke-us.

Zerubbabel—zē-rŭbba-bel, not ze-rub-bābel.

Zipporah—zĭp-pōrah, not zĭppo-rah.

[Pg 52]


Acton—ăk-tēon, not ăkte-on.

Adonis—a-dōnis, not a-dŏnis.

Alcides—ăl-sīdēz, not ălsi-dēz.

Amphion—ăm-phīon, not ămphi-on.

Amphitrite—ăm-phi-trīte, not ămphi-trīte nor am-phĭtri-te.

Anabasis—a-năba-sis, not an-a-bāsis.

Antiope—ăn-tīo-pe, not ănti-ōpe nor ăn-ti-ōpe.

Anubis—a-nūbis, not ănu-bis.

Arion—a-rīon, not āri-on.

Aristides—ar-is-tīdēz, not ar-ĭsti-dēz.

Aristogiton—a-ris-to-jīton, not ar-is-tŏji-ton.

Belides (singular, masculine)—bĕ-līdēz.

Belides (plural, female descendants of Belus)—bĕl-i-dēz.

Bellerophon—bel-lĕro-phon, not bel-ler-ōphon.

Cculus—sĕku-lus, not sēku-lus.

Calliope—kal-līo-pe, not kal-li-ōpe nor kălli-ōpe.

Caucasus—kawka-sus, not kaw-kāsus.

Charon—kāron, not chāron nor chăron.

Chronea—ker-o-nēa, not cher-o-nēa.

Chimera—ke-mēra, not kĭmer-a nor chī-mĕra.

Codrus—kōdrus, not kŏdrus.

Corcyra—kor-sīra, not korsi-ra.

Coriolanus—ko-ri-o-lānus, not kor-i-ŏla-nus.

Crete—krēte, not kreet.

Cyclades—sĭkla-dēz, not sīkla-dēz.

Cyclops—sīklops, not sĭklops.

Cyclopes—sīklo-pēz, not sīklōps.

Cyrene—sī-rēne, not sĭ-rēne.

Cyzicus—sĭzi-kus, not sĭ-zīkus.

Danaides—da-nāĭ-dez, not da-nīdez.

Darius—da-rīus, not dāri-us.

[Pg 53] Deianira—de-ī-an-īra, not de-yan-īra.

Diodorus—dī-o-dōrus, not dī-ŏdo-rus.

Diomedes—dī-o-mēdēz, not dī-ŏme-dēz.

Dodonus—do-do-nēus, not do-dōne-us.

Echo—ēko, not ĕkko.

Endymion—en-dĭmi-on, not en-dīmi-on.

Epirus—e-pīrus, not ĕpi-rus.

Erato—ĕra-to, not e-rāto.

Eumenes—ūme-nēz, not ū-mēnēz.

Euripus—ū-rīpus, not ūri-pus.

Eurydice—ū-rĭdi-se, not ūri-dīce nor ū-ri-dīse.

Ganymedes—gan-ĭ-mēdēz, not gan-ĭ-mēdz.

Geryon—jērĭ-on, not je-rīon.

Halcyone—hăl-sīo-ne, not hălsi-ōne nor hal-si-ōne.

Hebe—hēbe, not hēb.

Hecate—hĕka-te or hĕkat, not hēkāte.

Hecuba—hĕku-ba, not he-kūba.

Helena—hēlen-a, not he-lēna.

Hermione—-hĕr-mīo-ne, not hĕrmi-ōne nor hĕr-mi-ōne.

Herodotus—he-rŏdo-tus, not her-o-dōtus.

Hiero—hīer-o, not hī-ēro.

Hippocrene—hip-po-krēne, not hip-pŏkre-ne.

Hippodromus—hip-pŏdro-mus, not hip-po-drōmus.

Icarus—ĭka-rus, not īk-ā-rus.

Iolaus—ī-o-lāus, not ī-ōla-us.

Iphiclus—ĭphi-klus, not ĭph-īklus.

Iphigenia—ĭph-i-je-nīa, not ĭph-i-jēni-a.

Irene—ī-rēne, not ī-rēne.

Ithome—i-thōme, not ītho-me.

Lachesis—lăke-sis, not la-kĕsis.

Laocoon—la-ŏko-on,not lā-o-kōōn.

Lethe—lēthe, not lēth.

Leucothoe—lū-kŏtho-e, not lū-kōtho-e nor lū-ko-thōe.

Libitina—lĭb-i-tīna, not li-bĭti-na.

Lycaon—lī-kāon, not lĭka-on.

Lyceus—lī-sēus, not lĭse-us.

Meleager—mē-le-āger, not me-le-ājer nor me-lēa-jer.

Meroe—mĕro-e, not me-rōe.

Mitylene—mĭt-ĭ-lēne, not mĭti-lēne.

Myrmidones—myr-mĭdo-nēz, not myrmĭ-dōnz nor myr-mĭ-dōnēz.

Naiades—nā-īa-dēz, not nāa-dēz.

Nemesis—nĕme-sis, not ne-mēsis.

Nereides—ne-rēi-dēz, not nēryi-dēz.

Nereus—nērūs, not ne-rēus.

[Pg 54] Nica—ni-sēa, not nĭse-a.

Nundina—nŭndi-na, not nun-dīna.

Oceanus—o-sēa-nus, not o-se-ānus.

Ocypete—o-sĭpe-te, not o-si-pēte.

Œdipus—ĕdi-pus, not ēdi-pus nor e-dīpus.

Opigena—o-pĭje-na, not op-i-jēna.

Orion—o-rīon, not ōri-on.

Pactolus—pak-tōlus, not păkto-lus.

Palmon—pa-lēmon, not păle-mon.

Parrhasius—par-rāshe-us, not par-răsi-us.

Pasiphae—pa-sĭpha-e, not păs-i-phāe.

Pegasus—pĕga-sus, not pe-gāsus.

Penelope—pe-nĕlo-pe, not pĕne-lōpe.

Phlegethon—phlĕje-thon, not phlĕge-thon.

Pleiades—plēya-dĕz not plēyădz.

Polyphemus—pol-y-phēmus, not po-lĭphe-mus.

Priapus—prī-āpus, not prīa-pus.

Proserpine—prŏser-pīne, not pro-sĕrpi-ne.

Rhode—rōde, not rōde.

Sarapis—sa-rāpis, not săra-pis.

Sardanapalus—sar-da-na-pālus, not sar-dan-ăpa-lus.

Semiramis—se-mĭra-mis, not sĕm-i-rāmis.

Tereus—tēre-us, not te-rēus.

Terpsichore—terp-sīko-re, not tĕrpsi-kōre.

Theb—thēbe, not thēbe.

Theodamas—the-ŏda-mas, not the-o-dāmas.

Theodamus—the-o-dāmus, not the-ŏda-mus.

Theodotus—the-ŏdo-tus, not the-o-dōtus.

Theodorus—the-o-dōrus, not the-ŏdo-rus.

Thessalonica—thes-sa-lo-nīka, not thes-sa-lŏni-ka.

Thrace—thrāse, not thrāse.

[Pg 55]


Adam. As an English name is pronounced ădam; as French, -dng, as German, dm.

Annesley—ănzle, not ănnes-le.

Arundel—ărŭn-dĕl, not a-rŭndĕl.

Bacciochi—bt-chōkee, not băk-ki-ōkee.

Beatrice—bā--treechā or bēa-treess, not be-ătrĭs.

Beethoven—bātō-ven, not beethō-ven.

Belvedere—bĕl-vā-dārā, not bĕl-ve-dēre.

Beranger (Fr. Branger)—bā-rŏng-zhā, not bĕran-jer.

Blucher—blōōker, not blūcher.

Boccaccio—bo-ktcho, not bŏk-kăsi-o.

Boleyn—bŏŏlĭn, not bōlĭn nor bō-lĭn.

Boniface—bŏne-fass or Fr. bo-ne-fss, not bŏne-face.

Boucicault or Bourcicault—bōō-se-kō or bōōr-se-kō, not bōōse-kawlt.

Bozzaris—bŏtz-rĭs, not boz-zăris, as generally called.

Brown-Sequard (Fr. Squard)—brown-sā-krr, not see-kward.

Buchanan—bŭk-ănan, not bū-kănan.

Bull, Ole—ōlĕh bŏŏl, not ōl bŏŏl.

Buonaparte—bōō-o-n-prrtā, not bōna-prt; the latter is the allowed English pronunciation when spelled Bonaparte.

Bysshe—bĭsh, not bĭshshe.

Cecil—sĕsĭl or sĭsĭl, not sēsĭl.

Cenci—chĕnchee, not sĕnsee.

Chevalier—sheh-v-le-ā, not shev-a-leer.

Crichton—krīton, not krĭkton.

D'Aubigne (Fr. D'Aubign)—dō-bēn-yā, not daw-been.

Daubigny—dō-bēn-yē, not daw-bēny.

Disraeli—dĭz-rāel-e, not dĭzrel-ee.

Drouyn de Lhuys—drōō-ăng deh lwee.

Gillot—zhē-yō, not jĭllot nor jĭl-lō.

[Pg 56] Giovanni—jo-vnnee, not je-o-vănnee.

Goethe—pronounced much like grteh, leaving out the r; not gŏth nor gōth.

Hemans—hĕmanz, not hēmanz.

Ingelow—ĭnje-lō, not ĭnge-lō.

Ivan—e-vn, not īvan.

Juarez—jōō-rĕz or hōō-rĕth, not jawrĕz.

Lancelot—lŏngss-lō, not lănse-lŏt.

Lavater—lv-ter or l-v-tair, not lăva-ter.

Macleod—măk-lowd, not mak-lēod.

Marat—m-r, not ma-răt.

Marion—mări-on, not māri-on.

Medici—mĕde-chee or māde-chee, not mĕdi-see nor me-dēsee.

Minie (Fr. Mini)—me-ne-ā, not mĭnne.

Montague—mŏnta-gū, not mŏntāg.

Moultrie—mōōtre, not mōltre.

Muhlbach—(Ger. Mhlbach). The u in the first syllable of this word is very difficult for those to pronounce who are not German or French, and can not be well represented in English; but there is no need of coming so far from the mark as is generally done, especially in the last syllable. It is not mūlbăk nor mēlbăk; meulbk is nearer correct.

Mundt—mŏŏnt, not mŭnt.

Neumann—noimn, not nūman.

Ovid—ŏvĭd, not ōvid [Ovidius].

Paganini—p-g-neenee, not păj-a-nĭnĭ.

Pepin—pĕpĭn or pĭpĭn, not pēpĭn. French pronunciation peh-păng.

Piccolomini—pēk-ko-lŏme-nee, not pĭk-ko-lo-meenee.

Pliny—plĭny, not plīny [Plinius].

Ponce de Leon—pōnchā dā lā-ōn, not ponss de lēon.

Rachel—r-shĕl, not rāchel as the English name. When a German name it is pronounced rkel.

Richelieu—rēshe-lōō, not rĭche-lōō.

Rochefort—rosh-for, not rochfort.

Rothschild—roschīld or rōtshĭlt, not rŏthchīld.

Stael—stl, stawl or st-ĕl, not stāle.

Strauss—strowss, not strawss.

Taliaferro—tŏli-vĕr, not tăl-i-fĕrro.

Thiers—te-air, not theers.

[Pg 57]


Abomey—ăb-o-mā, not a-bŏmey nor a-bōmey.

Acapulco—-k-pōōlko, not ăk-a-pŭlko.

Adriatic—ăd-ri-ătĭk, not ā-drĭ-ătĭk.

Afghanistan—f-gn-is-tn, not ăf-găn-ĭstăn.

Agulhas—-gōōlys, not a-gŭlhăs.

Aix-la-Chapelle—ākz-l-sh-pĕl, not ā-l-shă-pĕl.

Alsace—l-sss, not ălsās.

Altai—l-tī, not ltā nor ltī.

Amherst—ămerst, not ămherst.

Amoor—-mōōr, not ămōōr nor āmōre.

Antilles—ŏng-teel, not ăn-teelz.

Araguay—-r-gwī, not ăra-gwā.

Aral—ăral, not āral.

Arkansas—r-kănsas, not rkan-saw nor r-kăn-zaz.

Asia—āshe-a, not āzhe-a.

Bantam (Java)—bn-tm, not băntam.

Barbados or Barbadoes—bar-bādōz, not brba-dōz. Barbados, a river of Brazil, is pronounced bar-bdoce.

Bayou—bīōō or bīō, not bāū.

Belfast—bĕl-făst, not bĕlfăst.

Beloochistan—bĕl-oo-chĭs-tn, not bĕl-oo-chĭstan.

Bingen—bĭngen, not bĭnjen.

Bombay—bŏm-bā, not bŏmbā.

Bremen (Germany)—brĕmen or brāmen, not brēmen. Bremen (U. S.)—brēmen.

Buena Vista—bwān veest or bōna vĭsta, not būna vĭsta.

Buenos Ayres—bōnos āriz or bōnos airz, not būnos ārz; Spanish pronunciation, bwānoce īrĕs.

Cairo (Italy and Egypt)—kīro, not kāro. Cairo (U. S.)—kāro.

Calais—kălĭs or k-lā, not ka-lās.

Canton (China)—kan-tŏn, not kănton. Canton (U. S.)—kănton.

[Pg 58] Cape Girardeau—jee-rr-dō, not jee-rrdō.

Caribbean or Carribbean—kăr-ĭb-bēan, not ka-rĭbbe-an.

Cashmere—ksh-meer, not kăshmere.

Cayenne—kī-ĕn or kā-yĕn, not kā-ĕn.

Cheyenne—she-ĕn, not shī-ĕn nor chā-ĕn.

Chili—chĭllee, not shēlee.

Christiania—krĭs-te-ne-, not krĭs-te-āne-a nor krĭs-te-ăna.

Chuquisaca—chōō-ke-sk, not chōō-kwĭsa-k.

Cincinnati—sin-sin-nahtĭ, not sin-sin-nătta.

Cochin China—kōchin chīna, not kŏchin chīna.

Delhi (India)—dĕllee, not dĕlhī. Delhi (U. S.)—dĕlhī.

Dubuque—dū-bōōk, not dū-būk.

Fezzan—fĕz-zn, not fĕzzan nor fĕz-zăn.

Freiburg—frībŏŏrg, not frēburg.

Genoa—jĕno-a, not je-nōa.

Gloucester—gloster, not as spelled. Gloucestershire (gloster-shir).

Greenwich (England)—grĭnĭdge, not as spelled. Greenwich (U. S.)—greenĭch.

Havre de Grace—hăver de grass, not hāver de grās. French pronunciation, hv'r deh grss or v'r deh grss.

Iowa—īo-wa, not ī-ōwa nor īo-wā.

Java (Island)—jva, not jăva nor jāva. Java (U. S.)—jāva.

Jeddo (Japan)—yĕddo, not jĕddo. Jeddo (U. S.)—jĕddo.

Juniata—jōō-ne-ahta, not jōō-ne-ĕta.

Kankakee—kan-kawkee, not kang-ka-kee.

Ladoga—ldo-g, not la-dōga.

Lausanne (Switzerland)—lō-zn, not law-san. Lausanne (Pennsylvania)—law-săn.

Leicester—lĕster, not as spelled. Leicestershire (lĕster-shir).

Leipsic (Saxony)—līpsĭk, not leepsĭk. Leipsic (U. S.)—leepsĭk.

Madrid (Spain)—m-drĭd, not mădrĭd; Spanish pronunciation, m-dreed—almost math-reeth. Madrid (U. S.)—mădrid.

Mauch Chunk—mawk chŭnk, not mawch shunk.

Milan—mĭlan, not mīlan.

Modena (Italy)—mŏden-a, not mo-dēna. Modena (U. S.)—mo-dēna.

Nantes—năntz, not năntez; French pronunciation, nŏngt.

[Pg 59] Neufchatel—nush--tĕl, not nōōfchăt-el.

Newfoundland—nūfond-land, not nu-foundland.

Norwich (England)—nŏrrĭj, not nŏrwich. Norwich (U. S.)—nŏrwich or nŏrrich.

Otaheite—ō-t-heete, not ō-ta-heet.

Panama—pn-a-m, not păna-maw.

Persia—pershe-a, not perzhe-a.

Pesth—pĕst, not pesth; Hungarian pronunciation, pĕsht.

Piqua—pĭkwa, not pĭkwā.

Pompeii—pŏm-pāyee, not pŏmpe-ī.

Popocatapetl—po-po-k-tā-pĕtl, not po-po-kăt-a-pētel.

Poughkeepsie—po-kĭpsee, not po-keepsee.

Quebec—kwe-bĕk, not kwēbek.

Queretaro—kā-rā-tro, not kwer-e-tāro.

Sahara—s-hr or sha-r, not sā-hāra nor sa-hăra.

San Diego—sn-de-āgo, not săn-dī-ēgo.

Sangamon—săngga-mon, not săng-gămon.

San Joaquin—sn-ho--keen, not sănjōa-kwĭn.

Shang-Hai—shang-hī, not shăng-hā nor shăng-hī.

Siam—sī-am or se-am, not sīam.

Sumatra—sōō-mtra, not sōō-mātra nor sōō-mătra.

Swabia—swābi-a, not swawbe-a.

Taliaferro—tŏle-ver, not tăl-ĭ-a-fĕrro.

Toulouse—tōō-lōōz, not tōō-lōōss.

Truxillo—trōō-heelyo, not trŭx-ĭllo.

Tyrol—tĭrol or te-rŏl, not tīrol.

Ulster (Germany)—ŏŏlster, not ŭlster. Ulster (Ireland and U. S.)—ŭlster.

Valenciennes—v-long-se-ĕnn, not va-lĕn-se-ĕnz.

Valparaiso (Chili)—vl-p-rīso, not văl-pa-rāzo. Valparaiso (U. S.)—văl-pa-rāzo.

Venezuela—ven-ez-weela or vā-nĕth-wāl, not ven-ez-ōō-ēla.

Vevay—ve-vā, not vēvā.

Vosges—vōzh, not vŏsjez.

Worcester—wŏŏster, not as spelled. Worcestershire (wŏŏster-shir).

Wyandot or Wyandotte—wī-an-dott, not wīan-dŏt.

Wyoming—wī-ōming, not wīo-ming.

Yang-tse-kiang—yng-tse-ke-ng, not yangste-kīăng.

Yo Semite—yō-seme-te, not yōse-mīte.

Zanzibar—zn-ze-br, not zănze-br.

[Pg 60]


Ada—āda, not ăda.

Agnes—ăgnēz, not ăgness.

Alphonso—al-phonso, not al-phŏnzo.

Artemas—rte-mas, not r-tēmas.

Augustine—aw-gŭstĭn, not awgŭs-teen.

Basil—băzil, not bāsil nor băsil.

Bernard—brnard, not br-nard. Bernard (French)—ber-nar.

Cecily—sĕsi-ly, not sēsi-ly.

Chloe—klōe, not klō.

Darius—da-rīus, not dāri-us.

Deborah—dĕbo-rah, not de-bōrah.

Eben—ĕben, not ēben.

Eleanor—ĕle-a-nor, not ĕlen-or.

Esther—ĕster, not ĕsther.

Eva—ēva, not ĕva.

Frances—frănsez, not frănsess nor frănsĭs.

Giles—jīlz, not gīlz.

Hosea—ho-zēa, not hōse-a.

Ivan—ĭvan, not īvan. Ivan (Russian)—e-vn.

Irene—ī-rēne, not ī-reen.

Jacqueline—jăque-lĭn, not jăka-līne.

Joan—jō-ăn, not jōan.

Joshua—jŏshu-a, not jŏsha-wā.

Leopold—lēo-pōld, not lĕpōld. Leopold (German)—lā-o-pōlt.

Lionel—lio-nel, not lī-ōnel.

Louisa—lōō-ēza, not lōō-īza.

Marion—mări-on, not māri-on.

Penelope—pe-nĕlo-pe, not pĕnel-ōpe.

Phebe—phēbe, not pheeb.

Philander—phī-lănder, not phĭl-ănder.

Philemon—phī-lēmon, not phĭle-mon.

Reginald—rĕj'i-nald, not rĕgi-nald.

Rosalie—rŏza-lē, not rōza-lē.

Rosalind—rŏza-lind, not rōza-lind.

Rosamond—rŏza-mond, not rōza-mond.

Rowland—rōland, not rowland.

Sigismund—sĭjis-mund, not [Pg 61] sĭgis-mund. Sigismund (German)—seegis-mŏŏnt.

Silvester—sĭl-vĕster, not sĭlvĕs-ter.

Sophia—so-phīa, not sōphi-a.

Ursula—-rsu-la, not r-sūla.

Viola—-vīo-la, not vī-ōla.

[Pg 62]


Achitophel—a-kĭto-phel, not a-chĭto-phel. A nickname given to the Earl of Shaftesbury and used by Dryden in his satirical poem of "Absalom and Achitophel."

Adonais—ăd-o-nāis, not a-dōni-as nor a-dŏni-as. A name given to the poet Keats by Shelley.

Adriana—ăd-ri-ăna, not ā-dri-āna nor ā-dri-ăna. A character in the "Comedy of Errors."

geon—ē-jēon, not ēje-on. A Syracusan merchant in the "Comedy of Errors."

milia—ē-mĭli-a, not ē-mēli-a. Wife of geon in the "Comedy of Errors."

Agramante—-gr-mntā, not ăgra-mănt unless written Agramant. King of the Moors in "Orlando Furioso."

Agricane—-gre-knā, not ăgri-kāne. Written also Agrican (ăgri-kăn). King of Tartary in "Orlando Innamorato."

Al Borak—l bŏrak, not ăl bōrak. An imaginary animal of wonderful appearance and fleetness, with which it was claimed that Mohammed made a journey to the seventh heaven.

Alcina—l-chēna, not ăl-sēna. A fairy in "Orlando Innamorato."

Alciphron—ălsi-phron, not ăl-sĭphron. The name of a work by Bishop Berkeley and of a character in the same. Alciphron is also the name of a poem by Thomas Moore and the hero of his romance, "The Epicurean."

Almanzor—al-mănzor, not ălman-zor. A character in Dryden's "Conquest of Granada."

Al Rakim—r r-keem, not ăl rākim. The dog in the legend of the "Seven Sleepers of Ephesus."

Al Sirat—s se-rt, not ăl si-răt. An imaginary bridge between this world and the Mohammedan paradise.

Angelica—an-jĕli-ka, not [Pg 63] an-jel-ka. A princess of great beauty in "Orlando Innamorato."

Angelo—ănje-lo, not an-jĕlo. A prominent character in "Measure for Measure." A goldsmith in the "Comedy of Errors."

Archimago—r-ki-māgo, not r-chi-māgo nor r-chĭma-go. A character in Spenser's "Fary Queen."

Argalia—ar-g-lee, not r-gāli-a. Brother of Angelica in "Orlando Innamorato."

Argantes—ar-gntess, not r-găntēz. An infidel hero in "Jerusalem Delivered."

Asmodeus—ăs-mo-dēus, not ăz-mōde-us. An evil spirit.

Baba, Ali—lee bb, not ăli bāba. A character in the "Forty Thieves."

Baba, Cassim—kssim bb, not kăssim bāba. Brother of Ali Baba.

Bajardo—b-e-ardo, not ba-jrdo. Rinaldo's steed in "Orlando Innamorato."

Balwhidder—bălhwĭth-er, not bawlwhĭd-der. A pastor in Galt's "Annals of the Parish."

Banquo—bănkwo, not băngko. A Scottish warrior and a character in "Macbeth."

Bassanio—bas-sni-o, not bas-sāni-o. Husband of Portia in "Merchant of Venice."

Biron—bĭron, not bīron. A character in "Love's Labor's Lost."

Boyet—boy-ĕt, not bōyet. A character in "Love's Labor's Lost."

Bradamante—br-d-mntā, not brăda-mănt. Sister to Rinaldo, in "Orlando Innamorato."

Brunehilde—brōōnā-hĭldā, not brŭn-hĭldah. Written also Brunehild (brōōneh-hĭlt).

Carrasco, Sanson—sn-sōn kr-rsko, not sănson kăr-răsko. A character in "Don Quixote."

Cedric—sĕdrik, not sēdrik. A character in "Ivanhoe."

Clarchen—klĕrken, not klrchen. A female character in Goethe's "Egmont."

Clavileno Aligero—kl-ve-lānyo -le-rāro, not klăv-i-lēno ăl-i-jēro. A celebrated steed in "Don Quixote."

Consuelo—kōng-su-ā-lō, not kŏn-su-ĕlo. The heroine of a novel of the same name by Georges Sand.

Don Adriano Armado—ăd-re-no r-mdo, not ā-dri-āno r-mādo. A character in "Love's Labor's Lost."

[Pg 64] Don Cleofas—klēo-fas, not kle-ōfas. Hero of "The Devil on Two Sticks."

Don Juan—jūan, not jū-ăn.

Dulcamara—dŏŏl-k-mr, not dŭl-sa-māra nor dŭl-ka-māra. The itinerant physician in "L'Elisire d'Amore."

Egeus—ē-jēus, not ēje-us. The Father of Hermia in "Midsummer Night's Dream."

Eyre, Jane—r, not īre.

Fata Morgana—ft mor-gn, not fāta mor-găna.

Fatima—făti-ma, not fa-tē-ma. A female character in the story of Aladdin, or the Wonderful Lamp; also, one of the wives of Blue Beard.

Fidele—fī-dēle, not fī-dēle. A name assumed by Imogen, in "Cymbeline."

Fra Diavolo—fr de-vo-lo, not fr de--vōlo.

Genevra—je-nĕvra, not je-nēvra. Ginevra is pronounced the same as the above.

Gil Blas—zhēl blss, not jĭl bl nor jeel blz.

Gotham—gōtham, not gŏtham. A name applied to New York City.

Haidee—hīdee, not hādee. One of the heroines in "Don Juan."

Iachimo—yăki-mo, not ī-ăki-mo. A prominent character in "Cymbeline."

Iago—e-go, not ī-āgo. One of the principal characters in "Othello."

Jacques—zhk, not jăkkwĕs. A character in "As You Like It."

Klaus, Peter—klowss, not klawz. The hero of a German tradition similar to that of "Rip Van Winkle."

Lalla Rookh—lla rōōk, not lălla rŏŏk. The heroine of Moore's poem of the same name.

Laodamia—la-ŏd-a-mīa, not la-o-dāmi-a. The wife of Protesilaus slain by Hector, and the name of a poem by Wordsworth.

Lara—lra, not lāra nor lăra. The hero and name of Byron's poem.

Le Fevre—leh fĕvr, not le fēver. A poor lieutenant in "Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy."

Leonato—lē-o-nto, not lē-o-nāto. Governor of Messina in "Much Ado About Nothing."

Mahu—ma-hōō or mhoo, not māhu. A fiend spoken of in "King Lear."

Maid of Orleans—rle-anz, not r-lēnz. Another name of Joan of Arc.

Meister, Wilhelm—vĭlhelm mīster, not wĭlhelm mēster. The hero of a novel by Goethe.

Mohicans, Last of the—mo-hēkans, [Pg 65] not mo-hĭshans nor mōhe-kans.

Montague—mŏnta-gū, not mon-tāg. A noble family in "Romeo and Juliet."

Moreno, Don Antonio—n-tōne-o mō-rāno, not ăn-tōne-o mō-rēno. A gentleman in "Don Quixote."

Munchausen—mun-chawsen, not mun-kawsen. German, Mnchhausen (mnk-howzen).

Oberon—ŏber-on, not ōber-on. King of the fairies. Takes an important part in "Midsummer Night's Dream."

Ossian—ŏshan, not awsi-an.

Parizade—p-re-zdā, not pări-zāde. A princess in "Arabian Nights' Entertainments."

Parolles—pa-rŏlles, not pa-rōlz. A follower of Bertram in "All's Well That Ends Well."

Perdita—prdi-ta, not pr-dīta nor pr-dēta. A princess in "Winter's Tale."

Petruchio—pe-trōōchĭ-o, not pe-trōōkĭ-o. A principal character in "Taming of the Shrew."

Pisanio—pĭ-znĭ-o, not pĭ-sānĭ-o. A character in "Cymbeline."

Posthumus—pŏsthu-mŭs, not pōst-hūmŭs. Imogen's husband in "Cymbeline."

Prospero—prŏspe-ro, not pros-pēro. An important character in the "Tempest."

Rosalind—rŏza-lĭnd, not rōza-lind. The lady loved by Orlando in "As You Like It."

Rosaline—rŏza-lĭn or rŏza-līn, not rōza-leen. A lady in "Love's Labor's Lost;" also the name of a lady loved by Romeo before Juliet.

Rosamond, Fair—rŏza-mond, not rōza-mond.

Rozinante—rŏz-i-nănte, not rō-zi-nănte. Don Quixote's famous horse.

Ruggiero—rōōd-jāro, not rŭg-gi-ĕro or rŭj-ji-ēro. A knight in "Orlando Furioso."

Sakhrat—sk-r, not săkrat. A sacred stone of great powers, in "Mohammedan mythology."

Stephano—stĕfa-no, not ste-fāno. A drunken butler in "Tempest;" also a servant of Portia in "Merchant of Venice."

Titania—tĭ-tāni-a, not tĭ-tăni-a. The wife of Oberon, king of the fairies.

Tybalt—tĭbalt, not tībalt. One of the Capulets in "Romeo and Juliet.

Ulrica—ul-rīka, not ŭlri-ka. An old sibyl in "Ivanhoe."

[Pg 66] Ursula—rsu-la, not r-sōōla. An attendant in "Much Ado About Nothing."

Viola—vīo-la, not vī-ōla. The disguised page of Duke Orsino in "Twelfth Night."

[Pg 67]


Although errors of speech are at all times to be deprecated, and are generally criticised without much leniency, it must be admitted that unless they are very gross, reasonable excuses are to be taken for those who have never made their language a subject of close study, and whose only use of words is entirely impromptu in the business affairs of life, in the home circle, or in the social gathering.

Though a person's descent from Belgravia or Billingsgate is in a great measure revealed by the propriety of his discourse, yet this refers principally to those words that are employed by the masses in the every-day conversations of life, rather than to technicalities and words related to particular professions, the use of which is generally confined to the specially instructed. But when a man stands forth as an orator, a teacher, a minister, or a professor of some college, it is certainly not unreasonable for those that sit under his instruction, to expect and demand that his speech should be almost free from errors.

One occupying such a position may well be excused [Pg 68] for occasional embarrassment, poor voice, unpleasant address, hesitation of delivery, and various failings and peculiarities that can not be overcome, but little or no allowance can be made for constantly repeated errors.

Probably there has never been a public speaker so perfect in diction, that he has not in moments of embarrassment, or when much absorbed in his subject, been guilty of grammatical inaccuracies or mistakes of pronunciation; and doubtless he is as often aware of them as his listeners are, as soon as they drop from his lips, but it would be foolish to call attention to them by going back to correct them. But when these offenses are so glaring and so frequently repeated that it is evident the speaker knows no better, it is no wonder that the educated hearer often thinks that the teacher had better leave his position and submit to being taught.

What allowance can an intelligent congregation make for their minister who has nothing else to do but prepare his sermons, if, besides a multitude of common English mistakes, he pronounces more than half of his scriptural names in a manner that is not sanctioned by any authority?

When the orotund medical professor stands up to address his students, or to engage in the discussions of a convention, and rolls out technicality after technicality pronounced in a manner that would be disowned by the original Latin or Greek, and is totally [Pg 69] at variance with established usage, who would not ask for a little less elegance and a little more education? If it required a great amount of labor outside of the usual course of study for professional men to acquire a knowledge of the pronunciation of words peculiar to the professions, the subject might be treated with more tolerance; but as the definitions and the orthoepy might be so readily learned together during those years of daily reference to books that are required before one should be considered competent to stand as a guide to others, it certainly seems that they do not properly appreciate the dignity of their position by thus laying themselves open to public criticism.

Many a student, in order to become instructed in certain branches, has been compelled to reluctantly sit for months or years at the feet of those that he felt were far inferior to him in common school education, hearing hourly such violations of orthoepy and syntax as would be a discredit to school children. And, doubtless, many such students have had such a charity for their teachers that they have wished to direct their attention to their faults, but have been restrained on account of the fear of enmity, expulsion, or of lessening the chances for passing the final examination.

The bare thought of being so criticised should be so galling to any one bearing the dignified title of "professor," that he ought to be stimulated to endeavor [Pg 70] to make himself an authority concerning the proprieties of speech.

The study of orthoepy was held in such high esteem by the accent Greeks, and their delicate ears were so offended by any violation of its rules, that if an orator mispronounced a single word, the entire audience immediately hissed him.

During the present state of pronunciation it would indeed be embarrassing to the public speaker, if such a custom existed in this country. Let us imagine, for instance, our friend Professor Abdominous Gyncophonus, with his face ebullient with smiles of self-conceit, arising to address such an audience. "Gentlemen: I have listened patiently to this oppo-nent (hisses) of allo-path-y (hisses) and now arise to make a few remarks and inquir-ies (hisses). In answer to his objections against hy-os-cy-āmus (hisses) as an anodyne and sōpor-if-ic, (hisses) I would say that in cases of cough and sleeplessness, I have long used hyoscyamia combined in trōchĕz (hisses) without any of those effects that the pătron (hisses) of hōme-o-path-y (hisses) mentions. And having made almost a specialty of the treatment of făi-al (hisses) neuralgia or tic-dŏl-o-rōō" (hisses)—and it would certainly be time for him to dolorously sit down, although he might raise the question—

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose,

By any other name would smell as sweet,"

[Pg 71] and argue therefrom that the pronunciation of a word should make no difference so long as its meaning was understood. Amongst professional men, it has been observed that physicians and dentists are by far more prone than others to orthoepical errors. Attention is requested to a few of the more common of these in addition to those found in the preceding vocabulary connected with words that are alike used by the professional and the unprofessional, such as: abdomen, acclimated, albumen, animalcula arabic, citrate, embryo, excrescence, fetid, fetor, forceps, homeopathy, hydropathy, jugular, jujube, nasal, pharmacopœia, purulent, spasmodic, sulphurous, tragacanth, etc. The authorities appealed to are Dunglison, Thomas, Webster and Worcester. Notwithstanding the superior merit of Dunglison's Medical Dictionary, as far as the comprehensiveness and reliability of its definitions are concerned, it is evident that it is almost useless as an orthoepical guide. The principal accent is in many cases marked, but the pronunciation of preceding and succeeding syllables can not be determined, and there is no attempt at syllabication.

Dr. Thomas' dictionary, though less comprehensive, is equally reliable in its definitions, and is excellent authority in regard to orthoepy; though it is to be regretted that in some words important syllables are not sufficiently marked. For instance, take the words as-bestos and bismuth; how can it be determined whether the first should be pronounced [Pg 72] ăs-bĕstoss or ăz-bĕstōz or the latter bĭzmuth or bĭssmuth? Webster and Worcester are undoubtedly good authorities for the pronunciation of the medical words they give. In the following vocabulary all of the authorities that mention the words may be considered as agreeing, unless notice is made of their disagreement.

[Pg 73]


[In Latin and Latinized Greek words, the English sounds of the vowels are given as those used by the majority of professional men. If any one, however, prefers to adopt the continental method, sounding a as in father, y and i as e in veto, etc., and consistently applies it to all such words, no one, of course, has a right to object.]

Adipose—ădi-pōse, not adi-pōze.

Ala—āla, not ăla. Al, plural.

Alis—ālĭs, not ălĭs. This as a termination of many words, such as abdominalis, digitalis, frontalis, lachrymalis, transversalis, etc., is often erroneously pronounced ălis.

Alumen—al-ūmen, not ălu-men.

Alveolus—al-vēo-lus, not al-ve-ōlus. Plural, alveoli (al-vēo-lī). Alveolar—(al-vēo-lar). Alveolus is the name given to the cavity in the jaw that is seen upon the removal of the root of a tooth, and it possesses no more tangibility than a pinch of air; almost daily, however, we hear dentists speak of extracting a tooth with a piece of the alveolus attached. What a curiosity for preservation in a museum is a tooth with a piece of a little hole fastened to the root! What is meant is a piece of the alveolar process, or portion of bone around the alveolus.

Anmic—a-nĕmĭk, not a-nēmĭk. Dunglison gives the latter.

Andral—ŏng-drl, not ăn-dral.

Aphth—ăfthē, not ăpthē.

Aqua—ākwa, not ăkwa.

Arcus Senilis—se-nīlis, not sĕni-lis.

Areolar—a-rēo-lar, not a-re-ōlar.

Aris—ārĭs, not ăris in the termination of angularis, medullaris, palmaris, orbicularis, pulmonaris, etc.

Asarum—ăsa-rum, not a-sārum.

Asbestos—ăs-bĕstŏss, not ăz-bĕstōz.

[Pg 74] Attollens—at-tŏllenz, not at-tōlenz.

Azygos—azy-gos, not a-zygos.

Bagge—bggeh, not băg.

Bimana—bī-māna, not bī-mānĭ-a.

Bismuth—bĭzmuth, not bĭssmuth.

Bitumen—bĭ-tūmen, not bĭtu-men.

Cadaver—ka-dāver, not ka-dăver.

Caries—kārĭ-ēz, not kārēz nor kărrēz.

Carminative—kar-mĭna-tive, not karmi-nā-tĭve.

Caryophillus—kăr-ĭ-o-phĭllus, not kăr-ĭ-ŏphĭl-lus.

Cerebral—sĕre-bral, not ser-ēbral.

Cerebric—sĕre-bric, not ser-ēbric.

Cerebrum—sĕre-brum, not ser-ēbrum. Dunglison gives both.

Cerumen—se-rūmen, not sĕrū-men.

Cheyne—chān or cheen, not shāne.

Choledochus—ko-lĕdo-kus, not kŏl-e-dōkus nor ko-lĭda-kus.

Cicatrix—si-kātrix, not sĭka-trix nor si-kătrix. Plural, cicatrices (sĭka-trīsēz), not sĭ-kătrĭ-sēz.

Cimicifuga—sĭm-ĭ-sĭfu-ga, not sĭm-i-sĭ-fūga nor sĭm-ĭsi-fūga.

Cochlea—kŏkle-a, not kōkle-a.

Conein—ko-nēĭn, not kōne-ĭn.

Conium—ko-nīum, not kōni-um.

Cranium—krāni-um, not krăni-um.

Cynanche—sĭ-nănkē, not sī-nănchē.

Diastase—dīas-tāse, not dī-astāze.

Diastole—dī-asto-le, not dīas-tōle.

Diploe—dĭplo-e, not dip-lōe.

Dulcamara—dul-ka-māra, not dul-sa-māra. Webster gives dul-kama-ra also.

Duodenum—du-o-dēnum, not du-ŏde-num.

Dyspnœa—dĭsp-nēa, not dĭs-nēa.

Emesis—ĕme-sis,not em-ēsis.

Epiploon—e-pĭplo-on, not ep-ip-lōon.

Facial—fāshal, not făshi-al.

Foramen—fo-rāmen, not fo-rămen.

Fungi—funjī not fungī. Plural of fungus.

Galbanum—gălba-num, not gal-bānum.

Gingiva—jĭn-jīva, not jĭnji-va.

Glenoid—glēnoid, not glĕnoid.

Glutus—glūt-us, according to Webster. The rest give glū-tus.

Helleborus—hel-lĕbo-rus, not hel-le-bōrus.

[Pg 75] Hyoscyamus—hī-os-sīa-mus, not hī-os-sy-ămus nor hi-os-sy-āmus. Hyoscyamine (hī-os-sīa-mĭn).

Impetigo—ĭm-pe-tīgo, not ĭm-pĕti-go.

Incisive—ĭn-sīsĭv, not in-sĭsive.

Iodoform—ī-ŏdo-form, not ī-ōdo-form. Dunglison gives īo-do-form.

Itis. According to Webster and Worcester this termination is pronounced ītĭs in bronchitis, pleuritis, gastritis, etc. Thomas and Dunglison do not specify, but the inference is that they intend the same. It is, however, so generally pronounced ētis, that many would object to the attention attracted by calling it ītis.

Jejunum—je-jūnum, not jĕju-num.

Juniperus—ju-nĭpe-rus, not jūni-per-us nor ju-ni-pērus.

Laudanum—lawda-num, not lŏda-num.

Lentigo—len-tīgo, not lĕnti-go.

Lepra—lĕpra, not lēpra. Dunglison gives the latter.

Leuwenhoek—lōōen-hŏŏk or luhwen-hŏŏk (U as in fur), not lōōwen-hōke.

Levator—le-vātor, not le-vător.

Liquor (Latin)—līkwor, not lĭkur as in English.

Magendie—m-zhŏng-dē, not mā-jĕndē.

Malic—mālic, not mălic. Thomas gives the latter.

Matrix—mātrix, not mătrix.

Mistura—mĭs-tūra, not mĭstu-ra.

Molecule—mŏle-kūle, not mōle-kūle.

Mollities—mol-lĭshĭ-ēz, not mŏllĭ-tēz.

Molybdenum—mŏl-ĭb-dēnum, not mo-lĭbde-num.

Nasmyth—nāsmith, not năzmĭth.

Nicolai—neeko-lī, not nĭko-lā.

Nucleolus—nu-klēo-lus, not nu-kle-ōlus.

Oris—ōrĭs, not ŏris.

Ovale—ō-vāle, not ō-văle.

Panizzi—p-nĭtsee or p-nētsee, not pan-ĭzzy.

Pepys—pĕps, not pēpĭs nor pĕpĭs.

Pes Anserinus—pēz an-ser-īnus, not pĕz an-sĕri-nus. I once heard a professor describing the facial nerve to his class, and he dwelt upon this plexus for some time, calling it the "Pons Asinorum."

Podagra—pŏda-gra, not po-dāgra. Worcester gives po-dăgra also.

Podophyllum—-pŏd-o-phylum, not po-dŏphyl-lum.

[Pg 76] Process—prŏsess, not prōsess.

Prostate—prostāte, not prŏstrāte.

Purkinje—pŏŏrkĭn-yeh or pŏŏrkĭn, not par-kĭnjē.

Pylorus—pĭ-lōrus, not pī-lrus.

Pyrethrum—pĭre-thrum, not pī-rēthrum.

Quadrumana—quad-rūma-na, not quad-ru-mānia.

Rubeola—ru-bēo-la, not ru-be-ōla.

Sacrum—sākrum, not săkrum.

Sagittal—săjit-tal, not sa-jĭttal. Danglison gives the latter.

Sanies—sānĭ-ēz, not sānēz nor sănēz.

Scabies—scābĭ-ez, not scăbēz nor scābēz.

Seidlitz—sīdlĭtz, not sĕdlĭtz, unless spelled Sedlitz.

Sinapis—si-nāpis, not sĭna-pis.

Squamous—skwāmus, not skwawmus.

Systole—sĭsto-le, not sĭstōle.

Tinctura—tinc-tūra, not tinctu-ra.

Titanium—ti-tāni-um, not ti-tăni-um.

Trachea—tra-kēa or trāke-a, not trăcke-a.

Tremor—trēmor, not trĕm-or. Webster allows the latter also.

Trismus—trissmus, not trĭzmus.

Umbilicus—um-bĭ-līkus, according to Worcester, Thomas and Dunglison. Webster gives um-bili-kus.

Variola—va-rīo-la, not va-ri-ōla.

Veratrum—ve-rātrum, not ve-rătrum.

Vertebral—vĕrte-bral, not ver-tēbral.

Virchow—fĭrko, not vrchow nor vrkow.

Zinci—zĭnsi, not zinkī.

[Pg 77]


The following extract is from the letter of a friend, to whom were sent some of the advance pages of this work: "I am absolutely filled with astonishment to see how many simple words I have been mispronouncing all my life, and would have kept on mispronouncing to the end of my days if my thoughts had not been directed to them. If I were in your place I would end the book with a story in which all the words would be used in the course of the narrative. I can imagine no amusement more instructive or interesting than for a social party to read in turns, under some penalty for each mistake."

I had myself conceived the idea of presenting the words untrammeled with explanation of the orthoepy, or marks of accent; but the form was not decided upon.

The effort to compose a narrative was abandoned after a fair trial; for to have a plot and also bring the words in natural position would require a large volume; otherwise, it made senseless jumble. In the trial sentences given the objects are gained in small space. Those objects are to allow readers to exercise the memory and test their friends; and at the same time to use the words syntactically. It is hoped that the reader will pardon any absurdities of context; as they can not be avoided where one is compelled to use so many selected words, and is obliged to force them into a small compass.

[Pg 78]


The invalid came from Bremen to America and hoped to be soon acclimated, but was stricken down with a disease that was not amenable to treatment, although he had many physicians: allopathists, hydropathists and homeopathists. He said that the aim of allopathy was to poison him; of hydropathy to drown him; and of homeopathy to let him die unaided.

One of the combatants struck his opponent in the abdomen with a club, cut off an alder tree; he was carried under the shade of an ailantus and immediately expired.

Sophia found the egg under a piony near the shumac tree; but she broke it in carrying, and spilled the albumen all over her alpaca dress.

The dose for an adult is a dessert-spoonful.

It was a plain supper—nothing but aerated bread, Bologna sausage and radishes.

He told his demonstrative disputant that he did not wish to get into an altercation, but it only appeared to arouse his combativeness still more.

[Pg 79] Why do you accent the antepenult of espionage?

He illustrated his proposition by cutting off the apex of the figure, and then exhibited his apparatus for the production of statical electricity.

Two-thirds gum-arabic and one-third gum-tragacanth make a good mucilage.

The archbishop dreamed that an archangel came to him and told him to have his architect send to an island in the Grecian Archipelago for white marble for the pilasters.

Search the archives of history and you will not find another such prodigy as Admirable Crichton.

When, after traversing the ocean, you find yourself in the arid desert of Sahara, where there is no aroma of sweet flowers, or anything at all to regale your exhausted energies; where there is no herb nor herbaceous plant near you; where you are almost famished for want of some potable fluid; where you are in constant fear of being harassed by truculent nomads—then will you realize that there are no joys comparable to those that exist around the hearthstone of your humble home.

When the contents of the museum were sold by auction, the antiquary bought a roll of papyrus filled with hieroglyphics, a kind of bellows used by the ancients for starting their fires, and a fine collection of trilobites.

[Pg 80] The attempt at a reconnoisance in force had been unsuccessful; immediately after reveille, the commander of the fortress put it to vote amongst his officers, whether or not they should surrender. The ayes carried it, although some vehemently opposed on account of the excellent morale of the garrison.

The heroine of the melodrama sent to her betrothed Seignior an exquisite bouquet, composed of catalpa flowers, dahlias, marigold and thyme, and prayed his forgiveness for not allowing him the promised tte--tte at the trysting place; she had been suffering with the tic-douloureux, she said. He generously forgave her and sent her a sonnet, in which he said that her voice was sweeter than that of Piccolomini, or any other cantatrice; that no houri could be more beautiful than she; he called her a fair florist, and after extolling her navet, roseate cheeks and nymphean graces, he swore eternal homage and that he would love her forever and for aye.

The judge bade the desperado cease his badinage and answer his inquiries, and threatened that if he did not, he would punish him for his contumacy.

The vicar was one of the notable men of his day; his wife was a pattern of industry, a notable housekeeper. While the birds were chirping their matin song, she might be seen with her besom in her hand.

Is this a bona fide transaction, or is it a Machiavelian [Pg 81] attempt to inveigle the prelate into an imbroglio?

A booth was erected at the fair where the pretty Misses Agnes and Rosalind with much complaisance dispensed gratis to the visitors, soda-water flavored with orgeat or sarsaparilla.

General Silvester and his protg, Reginald, met with a casualty that nearly cost them their lives. The horses attached to their Brougham became frightened at a yacht and made a tremendous leap over a high embankment into a creek.

At the zoological garden was found nearly every animal extant, from a mouse to a camelopard.

The rendezvous of the topographical surveyors was at the camp of some hunters on a knoll near the banks of a caon.

The monk concealed his features with his capoch and would have been irrecognizable if his discourse had not betrayed him.

The tagre stands cater-cornered in a recess and contains many beautiful ornaments that his predecessor gathered within the last decade of years; amongst which may be mentioned the heads of Beethoven, Branger, Goethe, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and many other celebrities, cut in onyx.

[Pg 82] The Caucasian races obtained their name on account of originating near Mount Caucasus.

The mischievous children got cayenne all over their chaps, by which they were sufficiently punished without any further chastening.

The chivalric Don Quixote, having become a monomaniac on the subject of chivalry, bestrode his Rosinante, and, attended by his squire, started out to perform chivalrous deeds.

Lord C. has been absent since February, 1870; it is said that he has been traveling incognito, but it is certain that in Italy he has retained his cognomen. He is now at Modena awaiting the recovery of his Cicerone, when he intends to visit Genoa and Milan.

The obesity of the florid-faced prebendary is observed to increase with his prebend.

I have heard much of the gamins of Gotham, but I never realized what the gallows-deserving rascals were till I settled in New York City. I opened business as a pharmaceutist on a corner that was a favorite haunt of theirs. Such a crowd of tatterdemalions as stood in front of my show-window the first day I made my display of Parisian fancy goods, baffles description. One had the hooping cough, and every now and then would hoop till the perspiration rolled down his face; then he would shriek out the daily newspapers, in a voice like a calliope. One [Pg 83] dirty-faced gourmand ate papaws till he had to gape for breath, and would shoot the seeds and throw the skins at his hundred comrades, half of them coming in my front door. Another, dressed in ragged jean, his face covered with soot, played the jew's-harp hour after hour, with as much pride in his ability as Paganini at his violin. Another, a tall, jaundice visaged youth with an embryo beard of about a dozen hairs, covered nearly to his heels with his great-grandfather's surtout, in the lapel of which was pinned a death's-head, danced upon the iron cellar door till it roared like distant artillery.

Then there were many other "partners" bearing such sobriquets as "Sore Snoot," "Pig Eye," "Limpy," etc., improvising irrational songs, boxing, wrestling, indulging in raillery and ribald jests, pitching quoits, meawing like cats, howling at my patrons and driving reputable patronage away. Every now and then they would send in little, saucy, precocious urchins, who offered to patronize me by asking for two cents' worth of jujube paste, tolu or licorice, or some Samaritan salve for Jim Biles' sore nose. At last, when the sun had reached the horizon, as a finale of the day's progress, one of the young villains hurled a bowlder through my French plate-glass, which, after its flight through a lot of citrate of magnesia, cochineal and quinine, finally spilled a large bottle of red ink all over my new pharmacopœia. Springing over the dbris, I rushed to the door with [Pg 84] implacable anger flashing from my eyes. But one glance at that imperturbable crowd showed me how impotent I was. One of them with placid countenance and stolid indifference simply accosted me with, "Say, Mister, are you going to see the 'Naiad Queen' to-night?"

I left that store in less than a fortnight.

The comptroller was appointed by the government upon the supposition that he was conversant with the details of finance; but he was only a mediocre financier and was not aware of the deficit in the finances, until the conscience-stricken defalcating officer acknowledged his defalcation.

The emigrants to the frontier chose a beautiful spot for their settlement; but they found that the wells dug there and on the contiguous prairies had a saline taste; so they were obliged to bring water from the mountainous region beyond, by means of a conduit.

From the congeries presented to the professor, he, at his leisure, isolated each genus and gave generic names to each; and at the next meeting of the lyceum, he solicited attention to his data and the truths he had deduced.

The handsome contour of Madame G's face has been spoiled by an excrescence like a raspberry on her nasal organ.

[Pg 85] Young Philemon after reading Lalla Rookh, Lara, Don Juan, The Giaour, the productions of Mrs. Hemans, and a few others, was seized with the determination to become a poet; but he has only succeeded in becoming a poetaster, without any ideas of prosody. More metrical excellence and sense can be found in the distich:

"Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?"

than in any of the products of his brain that he has given us. His brothers, Eben and Philander, have become stage-struck, and expect to excel in the Protean art. Their guardian, himself a great lover of drama, having foolish confidence in their success, grants them plenary indulgence in all their whims. They are habitus of the theatre, and have fitted up a suite of apartments next to a suit of rooms occupied by some stock actors, with whom they are bound in indissoluble bonds of friendship. There they spend the day in practice, and if you should call at any hour, there is no telling what will present itself to you. Perhaps Macbeth with the glamour of his eyes, viewing the imaginary gouts of blood; or Banquo with his gory locks; or some knight with his cuirass on and his visor down, plunging, without a qualm, his carmine-stained poniard into the jugular of some patriot. Possibly, Othello the Moor, King John with the Magna Charta, or a legendary warrior of frightful mien with his falchion drawn, will admit [Pg 86] you. Or you may see a viscount with falcon, a rampant villain, a jocund host, or an irate, splenetic old man with spectacles, pronouncing with senile vehemence a curse upon some fragile female in negligee before him, who beseeches the aid of an immobile statue in a niche in the wall. You may get there in the nick of time to save Desdemona by an expos of Iago'so villainy, to rescue Pythias whom Damon holds by the nape of the neck on the threshold of eternity, or to restrain the suicidal design of the Montague by informing him that the fair Capulet is only under the influence of a soporific—not dead. You may arrive soon enough to arouse the womanhood in the docile Kate, making her less docible, and talk woman's rights to Petruchio, making him more lenient.

And you will find the guardian of these promising youths, sitting there all day shouting encore to their absurdities, and not rational enough to see his indiscretion in permitting their frivolity.

The ennui, recently complained of, was relieved by an invitation to a party given by the Mesdames B., the same you met at the conversazione of the church guild. The ladies received their guests with their usual suavity. Their niece, Rosamond, recently from Madrid, was the attraction of the evening; she wore an elegant moire antique with a profusion of valenciennes; she had a beautiful set of jewelry—opal and diamonds. It was marvelous how her tiny hands flew over the piano-forte. She sings very sweetly [Pg 87] too; her voice is a sort of mezzo-soprano. The nave Miss Ursula was present, nearly smothered in black silk and guipure. She looks much prettier in dishabille. The little piquant Miss Irene, with her plaited hair, sang with a voice like a paroquet her favorite, "Tassels on the Boots." That disgusting young Leopold was there, feeling as important as a Rothschild, making his salams, and palavering sotto voce to all the girls, circulating his monogram cards and sporting his paste pin with its dazzling facets. He thinks he cuts a wide swath.

Late in the evening those that were fond of Terpsichorean amusement were ushered into a room where the tapestry was covered and there spent several hours in minuets, waltzes, quadrilles, etc.

The topics of conversation amongst the more sensible during the evening were the object of the visit of the new prelate, and the recent speeches of Disraeli and Thiers.

Madame B. caused a good deal of merriment by describing an improvement in her cuisine that had been introduced that day. Bridget, a late importation from Belfast, who had charge of the culinary department, was told to send for some vermicelli to put in the soup, but she ordered spermaceti instead.

There was an old superstition that when the sacristan caused the bell in the cupola to toll its dolorous funeral notes, the manes of former friends joined [Pg 88] in the solemn cortege, and gathering around the grave moved their lips in inaudible requiem, and wrote in invisible letters upon the tomb, omega.

The great desideratum in the successful argument of disputable points, is the possession of an equable temper.

Alphonso, while out hunting partridges, fell into a slough. Being clothed only in nainsook, he took a severe cold, which soon resulted in febrile symptoms.

Dr. Mastiff's posthumous monograph on "Rabies" will soon appear. The frontispiece represents a group of dogs. Next to the preface is a memoir of the author. It was his own design to have "Finis" placed upon a cut of a tombstone. It almost seems that he had a presentiment of his death.

Suffice it to say that the dentist gave the patient enough letheon to produce unconsciousness, and then applied his forceps to the offending tooth. Letheon, accented on the first syllable, and lethean are derived from Lethe, the name of a river described in mythology, a draught from which caused forgetfulness.

Sulphurous acid is gaseous, not liquid.

It is reported in the Pall Mall Gazette that Basil S., whom you met several years ago at Leipsic, is dead. He lived the life of a rou for some years in Paris and London, and turned out to be a most perfidious villain. In the latter city he committed [Pg 89] many heinous offenses and acts of subtle knavery that were almost without precedent. He was engaged for a long time in the manufacture of spurious money by a new process, in which dies were taken from gutta-percha impressions. He had purchased the services of an experienced professor of metallurgy, and the produce of their crime would have been immense, if some of his other crimes had not been betrayed. Placards, offering a large reward for his arrest, were posted all over the city. He fled to Venice where he was soon afterward drowned by falling from a gondola, thus cheating the gibbet of its dues.

The foolish lover, Ivan, rendered desperate because his rival Darius had gained the precedence in Marion's esteem, resolved to commit suicide and rushed toward the quay and plunged into the water. Some fishermen rescued him with their seine, poured some potheen down his throat, and carried him home on a piece of tarpaulin. His sousing cured him of his folly, but was a poor guerdon for his faithfulness.

The Saracens, taking advantage of the strategic point, made a sudden dash into the territory of the usurper; while a detachment houghed the horses of the enemy's cavalry, the rest proceeded on a predatory raid characterized by rapine and terror, and after the spoliation of the villages, and the burning of the granaries, returned to their own possessions.

Lionel, prejudiced against the world on account [Pg 90] of onerous cares, concluded to make a sacrifice of his wealth and position and become a recluse. His little hovel on the heather, whitened with lime which he himself slaked, and the little flower garden redolent of spring, present a strange contrast with his former mansion and magnificent grounds.

Eva answered the inquiry of the French gentleman, "Parlez-vous franais?" with a "Oui;" but when she came to converse with him, he understood about as much of her patois as he did of Hindoostanee.

There is a fabulous report that the upas tree exhales a subtile vapor that is fatal to animal life.

Since Joshua has obtained his lucrative sinecure, he spends his time in riding about in his phaeton and reading romances. He is loth to acknowledge that he was ever a plebeian and did all kinds of servile work. He is confident that his genealogy, if known, would show that he was unto a manor born, and that some supposititious child robbed him of his rights.

The knight dropped his wassail cup and sprang to the assistance of the ladies. "Gramercy," quoth they, simultaneously.

The veterinary physician said that the disease was murrain.

An infinitesimal quantity of yeast excited the fermentation.

[Pg 91] Augustine studied microscopy just long enough to learn that a monad is one of the simplest kind of minute animalcules; he then tried chemistry and mineralogy, but he could not master the nomenclature; he then took a fancy for telegraphy, but soon abandoned the idea of becoming a telegraphist. At last accounts, he apprenticed himself to a druggist, but was told to vamos soon after making up a lot of Seidlitz powders with oxalic instead of tartaric acid.

Artemas has applied for a patent on an improved turbine wheel.

Mr. B., recollecting the precedent services of his servant, advanced him money enough to lift the lien on his dwelling.

The lithographer had only a poor melanotype to copy from, but he succeeded in making an excellent print.

"Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing," is found in the sixth verse of the fifth psalm.

At the examination in orthoepy, Deborah had the following words given to her: contumely, crinoline, feudal, fetid, fetor, gerund, gneiss, gyrfalcon, harem, Hawaiian, hygiene, lariat, leverage, nonillion, obligatory, platina, platinum, psalmody, psychical, purulent, pyrites, recherch, rsum, sacerdotal, sacrament, schism, shekel, stearine and troches.

[Pg 92] The objective, me, is often erroneously used instead of the nominative, I, in answer to the question—"Who is there?"

In the dramatis person of "Midsummer Night's Dream," Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies, are introduced.

At the examination in geography, Ada was required to draw a map of Asia, which would have been well done, if she had not drawn Persia, Afghanistan and Beloochistan nearly twice their proper size. She was then asked to give the location and length of the Altai and Vosges mountains, and the height of their principal peaks; a description of the Aral, Adriatic and Caribbean seas; the course and length of the Amoor and Yang tse-kiang; and the location and population of Valparaiso (Chili), Bantam, (Java), Norwich, (Eng.), Pesth, Quebec, Valenciennes, Neufchatel, Nantes and Aix-la-Chapelle.

Her sister, Frances, was told to draw maps of Buenos Ayres and Otaheite, and to bound Venezuela and Arkansas; to give the length and direction of the Araguay, Juniata, Kankakee, Barbados and San Joaquin; the location of Cape Agulhas; the situation and population of Bingen, Calais, Canton, Acapulco, Chuquisaca, Delhi, Dubuque, Jeddo, Quereturo, Truxillo, Leicester and Vevay, and a description of Sumatra, Zanzibar, Barbadoes and the Antilles.

Sigismund has just returned from Yosemite Valley.

[Pg 93] Cecily, Chloe and Viola have just passed their examination in biography. The names presented to them were the following: N. S. Adam (Fr.), G. Adam (Ger.), Beatrice Cenci, Blucher, Boccaccio, Anne Boleyn, Marco Bozzaris, Joseph Buonaparte, D'Aubign, Daubigny, Drouyn de Lhuys, Juarez, Lavater, Marat, Marion, Catherine de Medici, Moultrie, Ovid, Pliny, Ponce de Leon and Richelieu.


Many, who claim to be good grammarians, are occasionally guilty of the violation of certain important rules. Attention is solicited to a few of the more common errors of this nature.



Certain compounds change the form of the first word in pluralizing, as: court-martial, brother-in-law, sister-in-law. Plural, courts-martial, brothers-in-law, etc. "John has three brother-in-laws," then, is incorrect.

But tea-spoonful, table-spoonful, cupful, pocketful, etc., are not considered such compounds; therefore, "two tea-spoonsful of medicine" and "two-cupsful of flour," should be, "two tea-spoonfuls of medicine," and "two cupfuls of flour."

[Pg 94] When name and title are given, with a numeral adjective prefixed, the name is pluralized. "Are the two Misses Wilson at home?" should be, "Are the two Miss Wilsons at home?" But when the numeral is omitted the title must be pluralized. "Were the Dr. Browns there?" should be, "Were the Drs. Brown there?" The rule has been given that the name only of married ladies is pluralized, but there appears to be no reason except that of euphony: the Mrs. Clarks certainly sounds more agreeably than the Mistresses Clark. In giving the plural of such titles as: Hon., Rev., Squire and Capt., euphony is also often considered; but in such cases it would doubtless be better to add the numeral, as: the three Hon. Jacksons.



Each other applies to two; one another to more than two. "The three witnesses contradicted each other," and "the two men accused one another," are incorrect.



Neither and not are followed by nor, not or. "Neither James or Charles will come," and "it is not white or black," are incorrect.



Words united by to be, referring to the same person, must be of the same case.

"It is me," "It may have been him," "It could [Pg 95] not be her," and "It was not them," are not correct: it, in each of the sentences, is nominative and the other pronouns should be I, he, she and they. "I took it to be he," and "I understood it to be they," are also wrong; for it is objective in both instances, and the following pronouns should be him and them.



Than and as implying comparison, have the same case after as before. "He loses more than me," "John knows more than him" and "James is not so tall as her," should be, "He loses more than I" (lose), "John knows more than he" (knows) and "James is not so tall as she" (is tall).



Errors connected with the use of this word are very common, even amongst good speakers.

"Who did you see?" "Who do you know?" and "Who did you hear?" are wrong: whom should be used, for it is the object of the transitive verbs, see, know and hear. Who in such sentences as: "Who are you looking at?" and "Who are you writing to?" should likewise be changed into whom, for it is the object of the prepositions at and to.



Adjectives are often erroneously used for adverbs in sentences like the following: "This is an uncommon good portrait," "It is a miserable poor painting. [Pg 96] "Uncommonly good and miserably poor are right.

Adverbs are still more commonly used for adjectives. "Mary looked beautifully at the party," and "Janauschek looked majestically on the stage," are incorrect, for it is intended to describe the appearance of Mary and Janauschek, not their manner of looking; therefore the adjectives beautiful and majestic should be used.

When two objects are compared, the comparative degree should be used. "William is the heaviest of the two," and "Which is the most desirable—health or wealth?" ought to be, "William is the heavier of the two," and "Which is the more desirable—health or wealth?"



The plural demonstratives these and those are often erroneously used with singular nouns, as: "I don't like these kind of people," and "Those sort of things are very embarrassing." Kind and sort are singular and should have this and that.



Into, not in, is used to show the relation between verbs expressing motion, entrance, change of state, etc., and an objective case, as: "Come into the house," "Step into the carriage," and "Look into the room."

Transcriber's Note:

End of Project Gutenberg's Every-Day Errors of Speech, by L. P. Meredith


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