LawProse Lesson #253: Commonly mispronounced words.
If lawyers could remember to avoid just five common mispronunciations, what would they be? These are the words: applicable comparable often realtor substantive Say them aloud. Then see whether you used the preferable (PREF-uh-ruh-buhl) pronunciations: applicable (accent on the first syllable, not the second) comparable (same) often (silent t) realtor (two syllables, not three) substantive (three syllables [/SUB-stuhn-tiv/], not four, and accent on the first syllable) As a speaker, you may (or may not) gain points for impeccable pronunciation—because many people don’t care. But you’re sure to lose points with listeners who do. Further reading: Garner’s Modern English Usage 736–38 (4th ed. 2016). Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage 719–20 (3d ed. 2011). Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner Making Your Case 144–46 (2008).