Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Often: The “T” Is Silent

After going through the last several months with no issue causing me enough grief to complain about it here, I’ve finally hit a high level of annoyance with one thing. It’s a little thing really, but with each day it annoys me more. It’s the pronunciation of the word “often.” Despite some who believe that pronouncing the “T” is acceptable, I am here to state that, in my opinion, it is not. The most common pronunciation has the “T” silent (“off-fen”).

Here’s why I think pronouncing the “T” (“off-ten”) is incorrect: people don’t pronounce the “T” in similar words, such as listen, hasten, soften, etc. I know that the English language doesn’t always follow its own rules of pronunciation, but in this case, I think it should.

I’ve noticed that the pronunciation of the “T” seems to be spreading with news reporters, news anchors, and TV pundits.  I almost never hear it in TV shows (dramas/comedies) where actors are delivering scripted dialog, and who are likely being told HOW to say what they are saying. But news people are pronouncing the “T” more and more often (read "off-fen!").  Do they think it makes them sound smarter? In my opinion, it doesn’t. It sounds “off,” especially coming from people who make their living by talking in front of a camera.

So my suggestion is this: please hasten to read this, and listen to what I say. I don’t want to soften my message: The “T” in “often” is silent!

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