Search Menu

12 Words from Harry Potter That I Know I'm Saying Wrong and You Can't Stop Me

12 Words from Harry Potter That I Know I'm Saying Wrong and You Can't Stop Me

Warner Bros.

Recently, someone told me I was pronouncing "Animagus" wrong. I was shocked, not because I didn’t already know this but because they CORRECTED me. Sure, there is a right way and a wrong way to say things, and by and large it’s better to say them the right way. But this is Harry Potter we’re talking about, and it’s 2017. I’ve been saying these things wrong for DECADES now and I’d rather go to my grave unrepentant than start pronouncing them correctly. I’m like a really old person who gets that the Internet isn’t really devil magic, but they’ve gone without Facebook for eighty years and they’re not very well going to change their ways now.

Here’s all the stuff I know I’m still saying wrong, and at this point I’ve just accepted it as a character flaw.

There should be a separate planet for people who say "ka-NOOTS," which is, I'm told, the correct way to pronounce it.

I’m sure that people who actually say "Mer-OH-pee" are smarter and better-looking and will live longer, but I am not one of them, and I’ve made my peace with that.

I’m a simple Midwesterner who had, at the tender age of seven, never met anyone named Seamus nor heard this baffling congruence of Irish syllables spoken aloud. Naturally, I assumed it was spelled the way it was phonetically written ("SEE-mus"), confident as I was in my tenuous grasp of the English language. Imagine my shock and dismay when I learned the truth.

You cannot tell us twenty years in that the T is silent, J.K. Rowling. You just can’t. It’s too late.

Little Whinging
Now that I watch The Great British Bake Off and have met actual British people, I know that this is just "whinge" with an -ing and not actually the word "winging" with a superfluous H. Yet I cannot bring myself to do anything about it. There is a voice in my head that says it like "winging," and I simply don’t care to correct it.

Felix Felicis
I say "feh-LEE-sis" instead of "FILL-eh-sis" and I sleep at night just fine.

Bellatrix Lestrange
"Lestrange" is French, and as such should be pronounced "Leh-STAWNGE." I took five years of French in middle and high school, then did three years immersive in college. I know how to say French things. But you’ll still have to pry "Le-STRANGE" from my cold, dead hands.

Rufus Scrimgeour
To this day, I don’t know how to pronounce this. Very rarely do I have cause to say it out loud, and when I do, I preface it with, "Now, I know I’m not saying this right, BUT" and then proceed to choke out a noise that doesn’t sound even vaguely like a word. There are too many vowels and I don’t know what any of them do. I know I’ve heard "Scrimgeour" before because they say it in the movies, but it just doesn't stick.

Did you know this is pronounced "in-FEAR-ee" and not "in-FAIR-ee"? Did anyone?

There are people, real human people who pronounce this "fear-EN-zay." And these people—I cannot stress enough that they exist, that they are just as real as you or I—are CORRECT. This is how the Italians say his name, anyway. And given that it’s Italian, I suppose they would know. Sorry, Italians. I butchered your lovely language, and now I have to live with that.

As a people, we have many problems, but perhaps our greatest failure as a cohesive society is that none of us are saying "Accio" quite the same way. And given that there are no less than four pronunciations being bandied about, that's not a surprise. I'm an "ACK-ee-oh" kind of a person myself, but that's just me.

I say it with a hard G. I know I need to be stopped, but this is just how I was raised.

Topics: Books
Tags: harry potter, books we love, jk rowling, funny lists, pronunciation, hp, knuts to your "correct pronunciations"

Write your own comment!

About the Author

In real life, she goes by the name Courtney Gorter. This is a closely guarded secret, and you're the only one who knows about it, so be cool. You can follow her on Twitter or check out her website if you want, but it's just going to be a lot of complaining.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email