I use to pronounce this word so that it rhymes with 'her', but recently I've been told to pronounce it like "air". Which pronunciation was it originally, and which pronunciation was correct?
Based on Gilbert and Sullivan lyrics in Ruddigore, in London in the late 19th century it was pronounced to rhyme with "her":
Webster's 1892 Dictionary agrees: err has the vowel of her.
However, nowadays, in the U.S. Northeast at least, I usually hear it pronounced "heir". Both pronunciations should be considered correct.
When used as a verb ("err on the side of caution"), those of my accent pronounce it [eɪɻ], homonymously with "air."
When used as an interjection, it is usually pronounced [ɚ], [əɻ], or [əɹ], to rhyme with "her" or "purr".
protected by RegDwigнt♦ Dec 2 '13 at 23:26
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