You're Saying It Wrong

New episodes available on alternate Fridays

From KMUW Studios, You're Saying It Wrong is a podcast that looks at what we get wrong — and what we sometimes get right — when it comes to this English language. Hosted by KMUW's Fletcher Powell, each episode features a conversation with the sister and brother who wrote the book on it. Literally. You're Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words and Their Tangled Histories of Misuse is by Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras. (Or as we like to call them, Kathy and Ross.)

Each episode Kathy and Ross send a word to Fletcher, and then they convene over the airwaves to hear him pronounce it. Sometimes he gets it right. And sometimes they get to say, "You're Saying It Wrong."

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Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

"Abate the edge of traitors...That would reduce these bloudy daies again."

What do we do with Shakespeare and other works that use words with definitions we just can't recognize anymore?

Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen

God Rest, Ye Merry Gentlemen

God, Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Punctuation matters.

Also... Merry Christmas? Happy Holidays? Season's Greetings? And wait — how in the world do bras and pretzels come in to this whole thing? Plus, a question on many listeners' minds: What's with this whole "malarkey" thing?

We're talking politics! (Sort of.) Mayoral, electoral, gubernatorial (where the heck does that one come from?)... and Ross pulls a word from waaaaay out in left field.

Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

We're back to German this episode, but we've got some serious language wanderlust. We'll start with realpolitik, hop over to doppelganger, try to rank weltschmerz vs. ennui vs. angst, take a whole lot of detours and try to talk our way through some questions we have, and also chat a bit about... spare ribs?

Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

Schadenfreude, weltschmerz, zeitgeist, sturm und drang... whatever it is, German's probably got a word for it.

Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

In this episode of You're Saying It Wrong, we're talking about "fossil words," words that aren't used anymore except in idioms or very specific contexts, like "ado," "dudgeon," and "petard." And we broaden into words that are dying or might be dying in the future.

Can we be combobulated? Or gruntled? Not Fletcher. He's been disgruntled and discombobulated thinking about this subject for a long time.

He's turning the tables in this episode and asking Kathy and Ross about prefixes on words that might not be words without said prefixes. (And the Petrases remained nonplussed.) 

Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

Merriam-Webster just added to their definition of the word "they" to indicate it's being used as a non-binary gender pronoun. We happen to think that the singular "they" is excellent. As did Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. In fact, the singular "they" can be traced back to 1375.

Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

In this episode, Fletcher, Kathy & Ross talk about precision in language: why it's good, why it's bad, why we like it, and why we sometimes just need to let it go. 

Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

OK, lotsa complicated stuff this time.

First, we cover using "who" vs. "that" in a sentence, as in "I'm the one who loves you" vs. "I'm the one that loves you."

And we move on to "that" vs. "which" in restrictive and non-restrictive clauses.  (You might want to get some paper to draw a diagram here.)

And we learn when to use "shall" vs. "will."

Or if any of it matters at all!