17 words that aren’t spelled like they sound

Do you get hung up on the spelling or pronunciation of ‘sherbet’ or ‘colonel’? How about the other words on this list?

Sometimes the rules of English spelling make no sense.

The reason for the confusion is the diverse origins of English words. German, Latin, French, and Greek are all common sources, and each language follows a different set of rules for spelling. Even the best spellers—including those who avidly read Ragan.com—can be tripped up by the irregularities of English spelling.

Perhaps it’s because there are so many English words that aren’t spelled the way they sound. Below are a few of the most befuddling ones. (Click on the word for an audible pronunciation.)

Ragan readers . . . any words to add to this list?

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. She is a regular contributor to PR Daily. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.

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