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11 Advanced English Words with Confusing Pronunciation

#1 – albeit (conj.)

al – BEE – it

The word albeit means “although” (similar to “but”)

It’s an interesting, albeit useless, invention.

#2 – caveat (n.)

CA – vee – at

caveat is an explanation, alert, or warning that you give in order to clarify or provide further detail to a statement.

When you sign up, you’ll get a free cell phone – the caveat is that you’ll be locked into a 2-year contract.

#3 – chaos (n.), chaotic (adj.)

KAY-oss; kay-OT-ic

Chaos means a state of extreme confusion and disorder. The adjective form is chaotic.

It was a scene of total chaos when the animals escaped from the zoo.

#4 – debris (n.)

de-BREE

The in the word debris is silent. Debris refers to the remains of material that is broken, thrown away, or destroyed. We usually talk about debris from a construction site or from an explosion.

After the earthquake, it took weeks to clear the debris from the roads.

#5 – epitome (n.)

e-PI-to-mee

If something is “the epitome of (some quality),” it means it is a perfect example of it.

Mother Teresa was the epitome of kindness and generosity.

#6 – gauge (n./v.)

GAJE (long “a,” as in “game”)

gauge (n.) is a device used to measure something. For example, a gas tank might have a gauge to show how much gas remains inside.

The verb gauge (v.) means to estimate, measure, or evaluate in general. For example, you might give a potential employee a trial project in order to gauge his/her ability to do the job.

#7 – hierarchy (n.)

HI-er-ar-kee

The word hierarchy means the order of importance/responsibility/social status, when people or things are arranged in specific levels from most important to least important.

I got a promotion – no pay raise, but it’s a step up in the corporate hierarchy.

#8 – indict (v.) / indictment (n.)

in – DITE / in – DITE – ment

The “c” in these words is silent. To indict someone means to formally charge the person with a crime. It refers to the legal process that decides there is enough evidence for the person to be officially accused and tried for the crime.

Four people were indicted in the investigation of the fraud.

#9 – paradigm (n.)

PA – ra – dime

The word paradigm means a widely-accepted belief, theory, or way of doing things.

The author’s controversial work challenges cultural paradigms.

#10 – segue (n./v.)

SE – gway

To segue is to transition from one thing to another smoothly, without a break. It is often used for speeches or discussions that move from one topic to another without stopping or without an abrupt point of change.

After presenting the research, she segued into defending it against possible objections.

#11 – subtle (adj.) 

SUH – tl

If something is subtle, it is so small or slight that it is barely noticeable – but it can be noticed if you look carefully.

These two species of birds may look the same, but there are subtle differences in their wing structure.

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