Welcome to painfulenglish.com

We are not afraid of discussing mistakes to improve our English.

Category Scientific English

Naughty notifications

While listening to an online lecture about software engineering presented by a German, I noticed a systematic, incorrect pronunciation of the words notify and notification. The correct pronunciations are readily found online, for example in the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary: notify: [ˈnəʊtɪfaɪ] (BE), [ˈnoʊtɪfaɪ] (AE) | listen here notification: [ˌnəʊtɪfɪˈkeɪʃn] (BE), [ˌnoʊtɪfɪˈkeɪʃn] (AE) | listen here

Read More

How to pronounce interpret

This week’s seminar speaker (German, but currently working in the US) made several interesting pronunciation mistakes. Most notably, he kept pronouncing the verb interpret so incorrectly that I did not even recognize it immediately. To understand what went wrong, we best look at the phonetic spelling. The are actually several pronunciations of interpret that are

Read More

Monotonic/monotone vs. monotonous

At a physics conference I attended last week in Berlin, I came across yet another example of tricky distinctions to master. Several speakers confused the words monotonic or monotone with monotonous. While these words can be used interchangeably in some situations, only monotonic and monotone are correct in a mathematical context. The Oxford online dictionary

Read More

How to pronounce the chemical elements

Below you can find a list of the most important chemical elements and their correct pronunciation. Elements which are often pronounced incorrectly are highlighted in red. I have previously written about iron and copper. Let me also remind you that in English, the letter y (which appears in elements such as Beryllium or Yttrium) is

Read More

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial