English teacher reveals how to say commonly mispronounced words

English teacher reveals the common mispronunciations that make you sound ‘unprofessional’ – including making an ‘x’ sound in ‘espresso’ and forgetting the first ‘r’ in February

  • YouTuber Lucy Earl, 25, from Cambridge, vlogs under name ‘English With Lucy’
  • She released the guide on her channel showing how to pronounce ten words 
  • Common mispronunciations include mischievous, February and espresso

An English teacher has shared a useful guide to the most common mispronounced words – and revealed how to say them correctly in order to sound professional. 

YouTuber Lucy Earl, 25, from Cambridge, who vlogs under the name ‘English With Lucy,’ has amassed more than four million subscribers since January 2016.

She has released a guide on her channel which shows how to pronounce ten everyday words in order to sound ‘educated, intelligent and professional when you speak English’. 

And while some words may seem simple to say aloud, Lucy revealed the common pitfalls people fall into. 

Lucy Earl, 25, from Cambridge, vlogs under the name ‘English With Lucy’, and her channel has amassed more than four million subscribers since January 2016

Lucy went on to explain that popular mispronounced words include the latin ‘et cetera’ (‘etc’) – which indicates similar items in a list to the ones stated. 

Amongst the other tricky words are ‘mischievous’, ‘espresso’, and even ‘pronunciation’ itself. 

In the introduction to the 12-minute video, Lucy said: ‘I am going to teach you the pronunciation mistakes that you should avoid if you want to sound professional and you want to sound intelligent. 

‘These are common mispronunciations of words that are used in professional and formal situations. In universities, in educational establishments, in the workplace, in job interviews. Make sure that you do not pronounce these words incorrectly.’   


1. Et cetera – et-set-er-a

2. Asterisk – as-ter-risk

3. Library – lie-bri

4. February – Feb-brew-ary 

5. Moot – muut

6. Mischievous – mis-chev-ous

7. Pronunciation – pro-nun-see-a-shun

8. ‘ve – uv

9. Facade – fas-ard

10. Espresso – es-press-o 

Lucy (pictured) revealed how the month of 'February' should be pronounced as 'Feb-brew-ary' - with the 'r'

Lucy (pictured) revealed how the month of ‘February’ should be pronounced as ‘Feb-brew-ary’ – with the ‘r’

Explaining how to say ‘pronunciation’, Lucy revealed it should be said with an emphasis on ‘nun’ instead of ‘noun’. 

‘Now, sometimes I get accused of mispronouncing pronunciation,’ she explained. ‘But this is actually because in the middle of the word the n-u-n, nun, can sometimes sound like nan. 

‘So sometimes I get accused of a mispronunciation that I am not making. But that is okay – I do manage to sleep at night.’  

Speaking about the pronunciation of ‘espresso’ – a strong, black coffee made by forcing steam or boiling water through ground coffee – Lucy said: ‘Lots of people, including my previous self, mispronounce this as ‘expresso’.’ 

‘And again it is because we have the word ‘express’ and ‘espresso’ – it makes sense. I didn’t realise it was espresso with an ‘s’ until I moved to London and saw the word espresso written in coffee shops.’  

Elsewhere, Lucy explained how asterisk – a symbol used in text as a pointer to a footnote – is pronounced, and also why you should include the ‘r’ in ‘February.’ 

‘It should be pronounced as ‘Feb-brew-ary’. But many people mispronounce it as ‘Feb-u-ry’ and this was the pronunciation that I was brought up to use,’ she added.

‘I was very surprised as I was a child and saw the spelling of February. I thought, ‘why is there an ‘r’ before the ‘u’? It is ‘Feb-u-ry’.