English is famously difficult to spell. It asks us to accept the inconsistences of has and was, do and go, and to resign ourselves to the logic-defying set of “ough” words, like bough, bought, tough, though, and through. A word like lachrymose helps us justify our spelling bees (which, incidentally, are nearly unique to the United States), while millions of children (and adults too!) each day look at Wednesday and wonder: why?
The state of English spelling is partly due to the mongrel nature of the language (it’s essentially a product of Anglo-Saxon aka Old English, Latin, Old Norse, and Anglo-French), and partly a consequence of longevity; English is more than a thousand years old and languages are inherently vulnerable to the vagaries of time.
One result of the confusing and often counterintuitive nature of English spelling is that it affects pronunciation: when a word’s spelling doesn’t relate in an obvious way to the way it’s pronounced, the word is apt to be pronounced incorrectly.
This is a list of some words that frequently get mispronounced—because English is hard.