We know that some letters in some English words are silent: love, gnome, climb, indict, Etobicoke, etc. They are written but not pronounced. However, other words, as fewer English learners may have noticed, contain sounds that come from nowhere — we just hear the sounds without seeing any corresponding letters. For example, there is no w or u in one, but we do hear a [w] sound in it. Also, in colonel there is no r, but we have to make that [r] sound, like [KER-nal]. Can you think of more words like them?


One book I borrowed from the public library is somewhat interesting. It’s titled 100 Words Almost Everyone Mixes Up or Mangles, compiled by the editorial staff of the American Heritage Dictionaries. While you can buy this book from a random bookstore, I’d like to share these words with you. Of course, I can’t and won’t poach the original content. I’m going to introduce to you some of these words every now and then and give a hyperlink to each word, so you can learn its definition. All these vocabulary posts, including this inaugural post, have the hashtag #the100words in order for you to search for them.

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