Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

Are you sometimes confused about English pronunciation?

Sometimes native English speakers choose the pronunciation they use for certain words.

This happens when multiple pronunciations are common due to regional dialects.

Listen in to today’s episode and find out some of the most common words with multiple pronunciations.

This way you can choose which version you want to use!

Are you pronouncing it right?

In today’s episode, you will learn a lot about pronunciation.

Many All Ears English listeners are interested in clarifying the pronunciation of English words.

Aubrey asks Lindsay if there are any words that she pronounces differently from her neighbors.

This is likely because Lindsay was raised in the eastern U.S. and is now living in the west.

Lindsay answers that as an east coaster, she pronounces the word ‘roof’ differently from her neighbors.

She pronounces it as ‘ruff’ instead of the usual ‘roof.’

Aubrey says she also pronounces it ‘ruff’ in Idaho.

She continues to share that there are other words pronounced differently in Idaho, like the word ‘Italian.’

They say it as ‘I-talian dressing’ which drives her a bit crazy.

It sounds so different, but it doesn’t mean it’s incorrectly pronounced.

It can be tricky because there is no right or wrong about this.

It often depends on geography.

It can also be generational, as pointed out by Lindsay, who only hears the older generation say ‘I-talian.’

Accepting the variation in pronunciation

You may see in the dictionary that there is a preferred pronunciation.

This may be different from the pronunciation you’re used to hearing.

Don’t let the differences hold you back from saying these words.

Aubrey shared a story about Benedict Cumberbatch.

He is a famous British actor who is known for playing Doctor Strange in Marvel movies.

He became viral for a nature documentary he narrated where he mispronounced the word ‘penguin.’

He pronounced it as ‘peng-wing.’

He was very gracious about this error and just laughed at his mistake.

Native English speakers mispronounce words often, so you don’t need to stress yourself out about it.

American English vs. British English

Another factor that affects English pronunciation is the difference among English speakers.

There is American English pronunciation and British English pronunciation.

Additionally, there are different pronunciations in every English-speaking region.

It can be very confusing, but none of it can be considered incorrect.

There are many words that can be pronounced differently.

Examples of multiple pronunciations

  • Often: with or without the ‘T’ sound
  • Realtor: reel-tor or real-a-tor
  • Pecan: pee-can or pe-kahn
  • Apricot: ay-pricot or a-pricot
  • Adult: uh-dult or a-dult
  • Adulting: only pronounced as uh-dulting
  • Caramel: ca-ra-mel or car-mul; also a town car-mel
  • Pajamas: pa-ja-mas or pa-jah-mas (often shortened to ‘PJs’)

How to know which pronunciation to use?

You can choose either!

Listen to what the locals do.

Learn how your neighbors speak and adapt accordingly.

This can help you bond with them easily.

This is a great way to build connections.


A roleplay is provided using the words with different pronunciations.

To understand the differences, it is best to listen to the podcast episode as you read the roleplay.

In the scenario, Lindsay and Aubrey are planning a party.

Aubrey: I’m going to make a pecan pie and an apricot pie.

Lindsay: That sounds amazing! I’ll bring vanila ice cream and caramel sauce.

Aubrey: Are only adults attending or is anyone bringing children?

Lindsay: My brother is bringing his kids, but they’ll be upstairs in their pajamas, so they don’t plan on eating.


Pronunciation can be stressful.

There are words that can be pronounced in multiple ways.

If you hear someone saying a certain word differently, don’t correct them.

There are other factors in a conversation that matters more in making the right connection.

As long as you understand what they are trying to say, don’t let the difference keep you from continuing a conversation with a colleague or friend.

Keep practicing and be aware of the different pronunciations.

Consume English material to brush up on your English pronunciation in engaging ways.

What other English words have you heard pronounced differently?

Share them in the comments below.

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