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What words are commonly mispronounced by literate people who read them before they heard them?

I do believe the question is pretty selfish planetary and needs no further comets!

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marked as duplicate by JSBձոգչ, z7sg Ѫ, Thursagen, Marthaª, waiwai933 Aug 11 '11 at 2:04

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3  
Answered here. –  RegDwigнt Jul 28 '11 at 11:12
    
Thanks! Someone downvoted me for having fun with words. Boohoohoo. `=( –  Michael Jul 28 '11 at 11:21

2 Answers 2

If you were telling somebody how to spell your name, you would say

My name is Shor (spelled S H O R).

Not

My name is Shor (spell S H O R).

So by analogy, it's a past participle, which would be pronounced "red".

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I know nothing of linguistics, but my impression was that it would be "red" as well. We seem to be in the minority, though. In the ask.metafilter.com link in a comment to the answer that simchona linked, basically 90% of the people said "reed." I can understand their argument, but it just doesn't seem natural. –  Michael Jul 29 '11 at 10:37
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Well another analogous parenthetical comment would be something like "The origins of World War I (see Tuchman)", which points to the opposite pronunciation. So grammatically, both pronunciations work fine. Which is why this is so controversial. –  Peter Shor Jul 29 '11 at 14:59
    
To me, "see," here, indicates future action, i.e. "if you want to read more, see Tuchman." –  Michael Jul 29 '11 at 16:34
    
@Michael: precisely. So does read. Imperative. –  RegDwigнt Jul 30 '11 at 5:16
    
Yes, but the "reed" crowd are making an assumption about the underlying statement that's being implied (i.e. you should read this as _____), whereas it could just as easily be "which should be read as ____", imo. Analogies can easily be made to support either argument, and I don't see why one would be any more valid than the other. –  Michael Jul 30 '11 at 5:42

In your specific example, at least coming from American English, I would pronounce the read like reed. To me, the parenthetical "read" is acting as a command: it is telling you to read a word a certain way (that is, to get a specific definition).

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