3 Words You May Be Saying Wrong

Posted on February 5, 2013 by Keith Sanders 4 Comments


On the radio yesterday I heard a commercial that caught my attention, not because it was extraordinarily awesome, but because it contained a mispronounced word.

It was for a title company or mortgage service, and it sounded as though it was the client herself reading the script. What threw me off was the way she pronounced realtor. Yes, this was someone who obviously works with a lot of realtors, but then she proceeded to pronounce it “RE-luh-ter.” As though realtor was spelled RELATOR.

Ask yourself: Have I been saying it that way?

It is actually two syllables, not three. So, the correct way to say it is “REAL-ter.”

A pair of words that are often misused are affect and effect. You affect, or influence, someone else’s thoughts or actions. You don’t effect them. Affect is used as a verb, while effect is generally a noun, meaning result. As in, a drug may have adverse side effects.

Also, I heard a friend mention last week that someone he knew had prostrate cancer. Eh, Gary, it’s prostate. Prostate is the male body organ, prostrate (with an “r”) means lying on the ground.

Just doing what I can to keep YOU from embarrassing yourself in conversation with others. Glad to help!





  • Kim says:

    Hi Keith,

    Although I would agree many, including myself would mispronounce some words, but please take into account the possible dialect that the person may have. For example, I was born and raised on the East coast, and we leave out “R”s on many of our words and put in “R”s where they do not belong. This is a good example of a dialect and not a mispronounciation.

    • Of course, Kim. I totally agree.

      As someone who grew up in, and continue to live in, the South, I am well aware of dialect and the role it plays in our communication. And, as I travel to deliver keynotes and training, I have noticed some folks drive “noth” on the “pakway” occasionally.

      In a college speech class one day years ago, a professor (and still mentor) of mine, Dr. Ralph Hillman, entered the room and wrote in HUGE letters on the board: WARSH. He then asked us how many of us make this word a part of our vocabulary. As I began to sound out the word, I realized I indeed grew up warshing cars, warshing dishes and warshing clothes. I thought it was a Southern thing, but I still hear television reporters (who do not noticably have Southern ties) refer to “reporting live from Warshington DC.”

      As I’ve traveled I’ve also learned there are even differences in Southern accents, and my comedian friend and all-around good guy Tim Wilson has a funny bit about it. The YouTube vid is HERE.

      But, even with the thickest of Southern accents, nobody gets prostrate cancer. Nobody gets a pass on that one. 🙂

      Thanks for posting! I appreciate you.

  • Dee Mayfield says:

    Thanks, Keith ! I love to stay up to date on what’s happening in business and in life. Communications is so important; people make decisions about our intelligence, our education level, and whether we have something to offer business-wise. …whatever it takes. Your training rocks!

    Thanks again for keeping in touch.
    Dee Mayfield, Dementia Care Trainer
    Mayfield Health Care Seminars

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