40 Commonly mispronounced words in English - free lesson

Commonly Mispronounced Words In English

Correct over 40 of the most commonly mispronounced words in English with this English pronunciation video.

Have you noticed that some words are difficult for non-native speakers to pronounce. Words like ‘August’, ‘iron’, ‘weird’ are commonly mispronounced by non-native speakers of English. 

Why? It’s because these words look so different to how they are pronounced. 

Practice the most mispronounced words in English and correct your word stress and vowels with this video. 

Most Commonly Mispronounced Words List in pdf

Download the list above in a pdf below. 

As well as the .pdf there is an audio file covering the words on the list. Remember to focus on the pitch and rhythm (word stress) and the vowel length for long vowels and double vowels. 

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Practice More Commonly Mispronounced Words In English

So, how did you go with the video and word list above? 

These words are particularly challenging for learners because they look different to how they are pronounced. 

English is not a phonetic alphabet, that’s why we many words are not pronounced as they look and why the spelling in words doesn’t tell us exactly how to pronounce words. 

Did you know how important word stress is for speaking clear English? 

Find out more about why word stress and vowel sounds are so important when correcting your English pronunciation of the most commonly mispronounced words covered in this free video online lesson on commonly mispronounced words.

More Videos To Correct Commonly Mispronounced Words

Below are more great videos to help you correct commonly mispronounced words in English. As you go through them, focus on word stress and vowel lengths and making consonant sounds correctly at the ends of your words. 

Improve Word Stress For Most Commonly Mispronounced English Words List  

On our list of the words that are most often pronounced incorrectly in English, there are many words that look similar but have the word stress on different syllables. This includes words such as ‘specify’ and ‘specific’, ‘neccessary’ and ‘neccessarily’. Words in English often look similar but the stress is on different syllables and this means that they are often pronounced incorrectly by ESL speakers. 

Getting the word stress right in commonly mispronounced words like ‘economy’, ‘economical’ and ‘economic’ is so important. Native speakers rely on hearing the correct

Improve and practice your English word stress here: improve English word stress.

Practice English Vowel Sounds For Commonly Mispronounced Words

English has 5 vowel letters and 20 English Vowel Sounds. For many people, some of these vowel sounds are not the same as in their first language. 

Of the English vowel sounds, there are three types of vowels: short vowels, long vowels and double vowels (diphthong vowels). 

For correcting your pronunciation of the most difficult words in English for non-native speakers to pronounce it really helps to have a good understanding of all the vowels in English. 

Revise all the vowels in English with the video below. This will help you understand which vowels are needed when you look up words in the IPA in the dictionary. 

Revise all the vowels in English here. As you listen and practice your pronunciation with the voice recorders, pay attention to the length of the vowels for the long vowels. these have the /:/ in the IPA. 

Also pay attention to the double vowels, such as // and /aʊ/, make sure you are making two mouth posistions for each vowel sound. 

Double Or Diphthong Vowels: 

Words with the diphthing vowel /oʊ/ are often commonly mispronounced by non-native English speakers. This can be because this vowel doesn’t exist in their first language or it can be because they haven’t realised that the word should have the double vowel /oʊ/ from the spelling of the word. 

An examples is the words ‘cost’ and ‘most’. These two words look the same but the vowels sounds are different. ‘Most’ is often mispronounced, it has the double vowel // /moʊst/ whereas ‘cost’ is pronounced with a single vowel only. 

Another example of a commonly mispronounced word is the word ‘won’t’. Many ESL speakers pronounce ‘won’t’ the same as ‘want’. This is confusing to listeners. Correct your pronunciation of ‘won’t’ with this English pronunciation video on the commonly mispronounced words ‘want’ and ‘won’t’.

English Weak Vowels Like Schwa /ə/

The weak vowel schwa is the most common vowel sound in English.

Find out more about what it is and how to pronounce it – The English Vowel Sound Schwa /ə/ – and watch the video below.  

Here are some words with schwa that ESL speakers often mispronounce. They often make a full vowel instead of a schwa in the unstressed syllable. 

cupboard /ˈkʌ.bəd/- this words looks so different to how it is pronounced. The 2nd syllable is very weak and we do not pronounce the /p/sound.  

iron  /aɪ.jən/- we don’t pronounce the ‘r’ in this word. The 2nd syllable is the weak vowel schwa.   

purchase  /ˈpɜː.tʃəs/ – the stress is on the first syllable. The 2nd syllable is the weak vowel schwa. 

In the video you’ll find out more about schwa to help you improve your pronunciation of commonly mispronounced words for ESL speakers. 

Confusing Spelling Results In Mispronounced Words In English

As English is not a phonetic language. This means that the spelling of a word doesn’t tell us exactly how to pronounce it. This means that when ESL speakers try and say a word as it is spelled it often results in that word being mispronounced. 

In words like ‘launch’ and ‘weird’ the problem is that people make the incorrect vowels. The spelling does not tell us exactly what the vowel should be. 

launch – /lɔːntʃ/ this has one long single vowel. The start is the same as ‘law’ – ‘lawnch’. Many ESL speakers mispronounce this word as they try and pronounce it with 2 vowel sounds. A similar problem often occurs in ‘August’, the first vowel is the long vowel /ɔː/ like in ‘lanuch’ but many people pronounce it with two vowels instead of one long vowel. 

tongue – /tʌŋ/ Many people mispronounce the word tongue. They pronounce this word as ‘tong’. In the word ‘tongue’ the letter ‘o’ does not make an ‘o’ vowel sound, it makes a sound like ‘uh’ in ‘up’. In the IPA it’s like this /tʌŋ/. 

There are many words in English where the letter ‘o’ makes /ʌ/ such as ‘cover’, ‘Monday’, ‘money’, ‘cousin’, ‘touch’ and many more. You will correct all of these in a Speech Active Course.  Watch the video below to correct the words ‘tongue’ and ‘tong’ and some more words where the letter ‘o’ makes /ʌ/. 

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I hope this page with video lesson has helped you correct some of the most commonly mispronounced words by non-native English speakers.

If you would like more help with your English pronunciation you might like to see our Checklist For Choosing Accent Reduction Training

Would you like more help with your English Pronunciation? Contact us to find out more about our English Pronunciation Courses. Our training is tailored specifically for speakers of your language background. See more about our course for speakers of your first language here – Speech Active Course List

Keep up the great work on your spoken English. 

Please contact us to talk more about how we can help you improve : )

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All the best

Georgie Harding

English Commonly Mispronounced Words List – Free English Pronunciation Lesson


Georgie Harding has assisted thousands of people from all over the world with improving their clarity and spoken English skills. A Speech Pathology degree (BAppSc(SpPathand CELTA qualifications and over 15 years of experience providing 1:1, group and online training make Georgie a leader in her field.  

Georgie is the creator the world’s leading English Pronunciation online courses that are tailored to the language background of the student and presents regularly at Universities.

If you’ve ever met Georgie or completed her award winning courses you’ll know how passionate she is about helping people move forward with better spoken English and more confidence. 

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