20 Hard Words to Spell in English


We have heard many people say that English is a difficult language. Ever wondered why is it called so? English may be difficult for both non-native speakers and learners due to its extensive vocabulary and complex regulations.

Words that trip the tongue and baffle even the most proficient spellers are among its obstacles. Learning English is a great deal. The English language conveniently has a difference in spelling and pronunciation of words and it is very important to learn the correct one.

So, Why does this happen?

English spelling and pronunciation often don't align due to borrowed words and varied letter-to-sound mappings. With influences from French, Latin, German, and Greek, English presents diverse challenges, where one letter may yield multiple sounds.

Accurate pronunciation is vital for effective communication, as missteps can lead to amusing or embarrassing misunderstandings. Thus, improving pronunciation is crucial for achieving native-like fluency.

So, let us explore 20 hard words to spell and learn their pronunciations as well.

  • Mischievous: We have a lot of difficulties pronouncing this term correctly. Most people say mis-chee-vee-us with an additional "i." But no, it's mis-chee-vus.
  • Colonel: This deceptively simple term is one of the most commonly mispronounced in English, even among native speakers. We bet you read it as it is spelled (co-lo-nel), but it's pronounced ker-nel.
  • Epitome: This harmless term is another source of misunderstanding. We're certain you read that as epi-tom. However, the actual pronunciation of this term is epi-toh-mee. Yes, the "e" is not silent.
  • Cymotrichous: However much you want to pronounce it as sai-mo-tree-chus, in reality, it is pronounced as Sah-mah-treh-kus.
  • Draught: This is arguably the most unusual English word to pronounce. Believe me, it is not pronounced the way you think it is. No, it is not drot. It is a draft.
  • Worcestershire: We usually pronounce it as Wor-cest-er-shi-er. However, the proper pronunciation is Woo-ster-sher. Just forget the "ces" syllable.
  • Pococurante: Unaware of the “why?” part but it is pronounced as po-ko-kyu-ran-tee instead of po-ko-ku-ran-tey.
  • Nauseous: If you pronounce this word as naw-zee-us, you're doing it incorrectly! While the pronunciation may appear straightforward, it is pronounced naw-shus.
  • Bouquet: No, you don’t pronounce it as no-uh-ket but as boo-kay.
  • Cacciatore: We pronounce it as ka-che-tor-ee, quite different from the spelling I must say.
  • Diaphragm: The “g” here is silent and the actual pronunciation is die-uh-fram.
  • Entrepreneur: Though we want to the pronunciation does not begin with e but starts with o. yes, it is pronounced as on-truh-pruh-nur.
  • Massachusetts: This tongue twister makes many people embarrassed. It’s pronounced as mas-aye-choo-sets, not mas-aye-kyu-sets.
  • Onomatopoeia: A-ney-mah-tey-pee-aa is the correct pronunciation of this tricky term and the spelling differs from it widely.
  • Pauciloquy: It is pronounced as pau-seh-loh-kwee which is a little different from its actual spelling.
  • Phlegm: It’s not as scary as it spells while pronouncing. It’s pronounced as fl-em. The “g” is silent.
  • Appoggiatura: Unlike its spelling, the pronunciation is uh-pa-ji-tur-uh. 
  • Liaison: Lee-aye-zaan is the actual pronunciation of this tricky word.
  • Quiche: This seemingly simple term has a slightly different pronunciation than the spelling. It is pronounced as keesh.
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: This extraordinary term is pronounced as soo-pr-ka-luh-fra-juh-li-stuhk-ek-spee-a-luh-dow-shuhs and means extraordinarily good.

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These words, with their silent letters, inconsistencies, and distinctive letter combinations, provide tremendous obstacles. However, learning them not only improves your spelling skills but also broadens your comprehension of the English language's complexities.

In the effort of language mastery, confronting difficult words is like honing a blade; it refines your linguistic abilities and strengthens your communication repertoire. Accept the learning process, because each word acquired brings you one step closer to linguistic greatness.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q.1: Why are spellings important?

Ans- Spellings ensure accurate communication and reflect language proficiency.

Q.2: How can we learn spellings easily?

Ans- Practice regularly, use mnemonic devices, and consult dictionaries to learn spellings effectively.

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