Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
People can be picky about the silliest things.
It's just the way they are. By picking at you, they feel better about themselves.
The problem is that some of these people are recruiters, HR types, and bosses.
They might influence whether you progress or get cast aside as just another functionary.
I'm here to help you steer around some of the human foibles that can derail your greatness.
Here, then, is a selection of words you might be mispronouncing and therefore, to some ears, making yourself sound less intelligent than you really are.
Please, I'm not a grammar commandant.
But I know people who are. They write to me to tell me I use too many commas and it makes them throw things around their living room, jail cell, or dungeon.
So this collection is for them, as well as for you.
1. Chaise Longue.
There is no such thing as a Chaise Lounge. You think there is. Because 19th-century Americans thought there was. You think it makes sense because you lounge on the things. But no. It's just a long chair upon which French presidents occasionally make love to their mistresses. This advice is most useful if you're doing business with the French.
I regret to say that George W. Bush put the pronunciation nucular into grave disrepute. Please, therefore, don't accuse anyone of going nucular. If they're the picky sort, they might explode.
3. For All Intents and Purposes.
There really are some people who think this is for all intensive purposes. You might mean that the purposes should be intensive. This is rarer than the cliché for all intents and purposes. I know it sounds archaic. It rather is. But everyone in American business already assumes you have intensive purposes, don't they?
Please forgive me, but more than one person believes deeply that this word is vehiminently. It's best to vehiminently deny it, but not to say vehiminently.
This is a vital word. Especially if you're trying to get a job in Silicon Valley. It's doesn't rhyme with Krakatoa. It just doesn't. It's Kinwa. I am just the messenger.
Regardless of the fact you think the word is irregardless -- or, indeed, that there exist both regardless and irregardless and they happen to mean the same thing -- they don't. So please disregard the latter.
You know, that stone some people scratch their calluses off with. Some people seem to think it's pronounced pyumiss. But no. It's puhmiss. This is definitely going to come up at some point. You just know it. Probably when you're talking to the head of research or an IT guy.
You went to a wedding. You seem to believe you enjoyed the nuptuals. Sadly, you didn't. You got drunk and didn't quite grasp how to pronounce it. It's understandable. At least, to me it is. Others, though, may not be as tolerant.
It really isn't mischievious. I know it should be. I know it sounds better. You can use it with me. But not, I suspect, with some picky, self-important apparatchik.
You might think this is pronounced hehjehmohny. Heh, no. The pedants insist it's heJEHmuhnee. Because they have hegemony over these things.
I ask you. Do some people really mispronounce this one? They do. And it makes some ears vibrate like a poodle with food poisoning. You see, some people always want to aks you something. I don't know why it happens. It just happens. It's wise to axe it.
No, not what some used to call the east. The verb orient that some people are convinced is actually orientate. It should be. I don't know why it isn't. After all, who has never been invited to an orientation? Isn't that where you orientate yourself? It isn't.
Steve Wilhite, the creator of the Graphics Interchange Format that so amuses you every day when there's an animal doing something silly or a man falling off a cliff in it, insists that it's pronounced JIF. Oh, but why take his word for it? For as long as anyone can remember, this has been a GIF, as in gift. So don't look a horse GIF in the mouth.
This is extremely important. We're talking about really picky people here. The sorts of people who believe they're a touch persnickety. They're not. There's no such word, save for the fact Americans think there is. I like persnickety as a word. I like Superman. He doesn't exist either.