Although English spelling is famously weird, there are at least some words that anyone learning English will easily get right — words like black, board, boat, clap, coat, cup, and hand. But put cup and board together and you get cupboard, which rhymes with Hubbard. Add kerchief to hand and you say it “hankerchif.” Clearly English spelling is an evil trap devised to make the unaware look bad. “You said ‘hand ker chief’? Oh. Ha ha. How terrible for you.”
So we learn these exceptions, and we use them often enough that we remember them. But there are some words that we keep in the lexical cupboard and forget how they were supposed to be said. Then we recklessly go ahead and pronounce them as they’re spelled…until someone starts to laugh.
Here are 10 words from the cupboard that will have you waving a white handkerchief.