(Editor’s note: This was one of the top viewed stories of 2014. We’re rerunning it as part of a look back at the articles that captivated our readers the most.)
This article first appeared on Primer.com.
Don’t worry, I won’t waste your time with the elementary school lessons about how to accurately pronounce “library,” “February,” or “arctic”—although I will note that if you’re discussing a library and still dropping the first “r,” there’s a very good chance that your friends and/or colleagues are laughing behind your back.
I won’t trouble you with a lecture covering how some of the words you use actually aren’t words at all. If you’re using words like “snuck,” “brang,” or “irregardless” (none of those are real words), an article—much less one written by me—is not going to solve your problems.