10 (Advanced) English Words You Are Probably MISpronouncing!

Lesson Overview

OK, here we go… 10 Advanced English Words You Are Probably MISpronouncing! These words are so tricky that sometimes native English speakers make these mistakes! We’ll practise:

Specifically (Realistically, Strategically, Politically, Logically, Democratically, Artistically, Economically, Chaotically)
Mischievous **OOOPS!** (spelling mistake in the video… Right after I said “it’s often spelt incorrectly too”) 😅
Espresso, Escape, Especially

Let’s fix these pronunciation mistakes together so that you can speak English more clearly and confidently!

Disclaimer: My video lessons are created to help English learners to improve their pronunciation and speaking skills. Please note that the pronunciation of some of these words differs between English accents. I speak with an Australian English accent!

Video Transcript
Section 1

Hello I’m Emma from mmmEnglish and in this lesson, I’m going to share ten advanced English words that you’re probably mispronouncing!

Now before I go on, this video is created for my audience, people who are learning English as a second language. Many of the words that I’ll be sharing with you today will be pronounced slightly differently depending on the English accent used. So you’ll hear them in my Australian accent but just be aware that there can be slightly different ways of pronouncing the same word.

The words that I’m sharing today are appropriate for advanced level English learners and of course, any ambitious intermediate level learners as well. But the words that I’ll be sharing are often mispronounced by native English speakers too. So if you’re a native English speaker don’t go anywhere, you might find this lesson useful and interesting as well.

So ready to get started?


Okay the first word, pronunciation. It is hilarious to think that this word is so commonly mispronounced and very often by native English speakers. Pronounce. Pronunciation.

So there’s the verb pronounce, which means to say words and sounds. Did I pronounce that correctly?

And then there’s the noun, pronunciation, which means the way that a word is pronounced or said. My pronunciation is improving, not my pronounciation is improving. It’s often mispronounced because there’s a different vowel sound used in the stressed syllable in each of these words.

Listen to the difference. Pronounce. Pronounce. Ow, ow.

Pronounce. Pronunciation. Pronunciation. Pronunciation.


Next, chaos. It’s actually a hell of a lot easier to pronounce than it looks! Chaos. Chaos. Kay – like the letter K and -Os, chaos. And not chaos or chous. It’s much easier than you think! Chaos.

And this is a noun, it’s used when a situation is really confusing or messy. There’s no order, there’s no control at all. There’s no order, there’s no control at all.

  • The accident on the freeway this morning created chaos for commuters.

But this word can extend into the adjective, chaotic. You can describe a situation as chaotic and the same pronunciation rules apply. It’s much easier to pronounce than you think.

Kay-o-tic. Chaotic.

  • It became very chaotic outside the station. 

So we can extend this even more into the adverb chaotically. So that’s describing how something happened. It happened chaotically.

Kay-o-tic-li. Chaotically.


Not spe-cif-i-cal-li. Specifically. Specifically. There are four syllables, not five. This pattern is one that occurs often in English. Often when an adjective that ends in C like specific becomes an adverb by adding the suffix -ally or just -ly.

So there’s lots of examples of this:

  • Realistically
  • Strategically
  • Politically
  • Loegically
  • Democratically
  • Artistically
  • Economically

And chaotically, which we mentioned earlier which is a really good example of this same rule that applies. Chaotically.


So the preferred pronunciation is pre-sti-jus, not pre-stee-jus. The shorter vowel sound. Prestigious is an adjective that’s used to say that something or someone is of a high status. They’re very honoured, very respected and admired.

  • Brighton Grammar is a prestigious boys’ school.
  • She won the prestigious Archibald Prize.

Again the problem here comes from the root word, prestige. where the stressed vowel sound is actually different. Prestige and prestigious. We have the longer e vowel sound in prestige and the shorter vowel sound in prestigious.


Not mis-chiev-i-ous, there is only one I here. It’s mischievous and it’s often spelt incorrectly too. Pronounced and spelt incorrectly. So this is an adjective that describes a person, usually a child, who is having fun by causing trouble. They’re cheeky, it’s kind of silly behaviour. It’s not really a negative thing.

  • Jack is quite a mischievous child.

Note that the noun mischief is also mispronounced sometimes as mischeef. Mischief. Mischief.

Now mischief is behaviour that causes trouble or disruption but not serious harm to other people. Just a bit of fun.

  • He’s always getting up to mischief.

Now for any of you athletic types who like to run and swim and cycle, triathlon is often mispronounced and misspelled as triathalon. Now this is probably because of the pronunciation of marathon.

After he ran the marathon, he started training for the triathlon. Triathlon. Triathlon.


I’m guessing that if you’re the athletic type and you care about your health and you care about your health and most of the time, but natural foods, whole foods can also be quite difficult to pronounce. Think about the word quinoa. Quinoa.

  • I’ll have the pumpkin and quinoa salad, please.


For a long time, I actually pronounced this word as aseye. But I recently found out that I’ve been pronouncing it completely wrong! It’s acai. The stress is on and it’s emphasising the third syllable or the last syllable. Both of these words, since they’re not originally English words are completely butchered by native English speakers.

By butchered I mean completely mispronounced and ruined.

It seems that English speakers everywhere are confused about how to pronounce some of these superfood names, so don’t be surprised if you hear it being pronounced incorrectly by native English speakers. It’s very common.


Genre is quite a sophisticated word, genre. It’s used to group a particular style or category of film or literature or art.

  • What’s your favourite genre?
  • That genre of music was really popular in the seventies. 

Now in French, where this word, originates where it comes from, the spelling is identical but the pronunciation is completely different. dzon, dzon.

Now that’s a pretty pathetic French accent but my point is that if you’re a French speaker, this is a false friend, the English pronunciation is different even though it looks exactly the same.

Genre. Genre. The first sound is the dzh sound that you hear in the middle of words like vision or measure and it’s a tricky sound to make. It’s a voiced sound.


Now for all of the coffee fans out there, it’s espresso, not expresso and I know that I don’t need to tell my Italian students that! But this seems to be a really common mistake for native English speakers and English learners alike. The letters S pronounced as X.

This is a really mysterious one for me, why native speakers, why? It’s espresso not expresso.

I skip breakfast most mornings and just get by on an espresso. Perhaps the confusion comes from the word, express, these two words have kind of come together.

  • I can’t express how important morning espresso is!

I’m going to escape to the country, not exscape to the country.

This one is especially tricky, not exspecially tricky.

Well, how did you go with that list of advanced English vocabulary? Perhaps you’ve been mispronouncing one or two of them or perhaps as a native speaker, you’ve just realised that you’ve been mispronouncing one of them like me with acai.

Now there is no better way to practise and improve your pronunciation than with a native English speaker and you can do that with Cambly. The teachers at Cambly are native English speakers from the, US from the UK, Australia, Canada and they can give you specific and personal feedback helping you to fix those pronunciation problems and communicate clearly in English.

So use the link in the description below to get a free 15 minute lesson with a native speaker. You could even practise the list of words and examples from this lesson.

Awesome to have someone listening to you and telling you what you need to do to improve.

If you enjoyed this lesson then please subscribe, comment, say hi, I love hearing from you! In fact, what other English words are difficult for you to pronounce? I’m sure you have a list of them somewhere.

Make sure you try out this video right here to learn how to pronounce 10 English words that I think you’re mispronouncing and watch this playlist down here to practise your pronunciation and English expression.

Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week. Bye for now!

Links mentioned in the video

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