REAL-tor, REAL-uh-ter, and My Crusade Against Mispronunciations


Let me just start by say that I am not a linguistics expert. 

I have an atrocious habit of using horribly malformed slang and spontaneously invented words at the most inopportune times – for example, when I am meeting someone new (cute girl) or trying to describe something in detail (how the Large Hadron Collider won’t actually destroy the world). 

This affinity for slang seems to be exacerbated whenever foosball is involved; every match seems to be a competition in who can make up the most mind bending trash-talk in order to confuse the competition long enough to score.  While I am not exactly where this tendency originated, I can assure you I am fully conscious of it and actively working to correct it.

That being said, it makes me appreciate it that much more when I hear someone speak eloquently – and that much less when I hear someone bludgeon the English language to death with often mispronounced words like “nuclear” or “supposedly”.

Which brings me to my primary gripe.  Working for a company that produces real estate software means that there is a disproportionate amount of industry lingo floating around the halls at any given time, with one of the most popular terms being “Realtor”.

I have heard countless people, even real estate professionals themselves, pronounce this word REAL-uh-ter instead of the proper way, REAL-tor.  To quote one of my heroes, Jerry Seinfeld, “what’s the deal with that?!” Seriously, you would think that the way English is structured it would be easier to pronounce two syllables instead of three but nevertheless people are constantly botching it and in turn making me cringe.

So, in the interest of helping people avoid pronouncing things incorrectly, and altruistically saving myself from grammatical abominations I am toying with the idea starting a company-wide “grammar jar”.  Built on the timeless “swear jar” concept, the idea is that whenever you mispronounce a word you put a quarter in the jar and when it is full the proceeds go toward something for the group – in this case perhaps a set of pocket dictionaries.  It is either that or I buy a megaphone and start yelling “fail” whenever something catches my ear…but then again I don’t want a reputation as that guy.

Point2 Grammar Jar

Have any other ideas of how to help me fight mispronunciations, or know of any words that are often butchered?  Let me know!


  • The other Chris says:

    Oh, come on, you already have a reputation as *that guy.*

    HAHA! I kid, I kid!

  • James Hamoline says:


  • Megan says:

    Ok, what about the very word ‘mispronunciation’?

  • The other Chris says:

    or “mischievous”

    I still think it would be funny to see someone walking around with a bullhorn acting like the grammar police.

  • Carey says:


    And yes. . . shedule!

  • bonnie says:

    I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read your blog regarding the word REALTOR and REAL-UH-TER.
    Yesterday, I attended a luncheon where the CEO of a Real Estate school spoke to a group of approximately 100 people. Every sentence contained the word REALTOR, however, in her case it was constantly mispronounced. As a matter of fact, a past president of the Board of Realtors also pronounced REALTOR incorrectly.
    She pronounced the word REAL-A-TOR.
    Truly, it “boggles” my mind that MANY agents and brokers can’t pronounce their profession!

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