That pushy “L”–Jewelry and Realtor™

Two weeks ago, we discussed “The R’s that Aren’t” ( Those were those bossy R’s that try to insinuate themselves into words where they don’t belong, such as sherbet and persevere, both of which have enough R’s as it is.

Today we’re talking about the letter L, which does belong in a couple of words we’re discussing, but which continually tries to push itself forward in the pronunciation.

The two words with the pushy L’s are jewelry and Realtor™.

The rude L in jewelry tries to press for a pronunciation of Jew-luh-ree. There are dozens of possible and delightful Semitic jokes to be had here, but I will wisely eschew them. In any event, we never talk about having a new jew-luh, but of receiving a new jew-el. So it’s jew-el-ree. Not jew-luh-ree. (And just because you heard it pronounced that way on a local commercial doesn’t mean it’s correct!)

The problem may well stem from a slurred pronunciation of jeweler, which sometimes ends up as jew-lurh. That may explain why I keep hearing some jewelry store commercials talk about their jew-luh-ry. You’d think they would get the product name right sometime before recording….

The other word is Realtor™, which is actually a trademarked name. I will leave it to advertisers to continue to distinguish a Realtor™ from a run-of-the-mill real estate agent. Only you will know in your heart if you are capitalizing the R when you say it, but I wish to focus on the rest of the word.

What it’s not: Ree-luh-tor.

What it is: Real-tor. Pronounce the first half as real, and you’ll be fine. If helpful, remember that we don’t say “ree-luh estate,” but we say “real estate.”

Sometimes these pesky letters, in this case the L, like to push to the head of the line. Let’s work to keep them where they belong.




It’s and Its

This one is explained all over the place, yet is still used inaccurately all the time.

First thought: It + ’s is a combination of it and is. It’s a contraction, meaning two words made into one, and made shorter in the process. You can use it’s when you are combining the two words it and is.

What can be confusing is that we have been taught that “’s” (an apostrophe before the letter “s’”) indicates possession. So you have my condolences for the difficulty, but you also have my respect that you can get over it and slip into accuracy.

Its means “belonging to it,” whatever it is. Let’s say you’re talking about a plant when you are referring to it. You can say that “its color is purple,” and you’d be accurate (unless it was another color). If you’re unsure, try (silently) saying, “It is color is purple.” That sounds dumb, and it is. So you can’t spell this possessive word any way but its.

BTW: Its’ isn’t a word. It’s an abomination. Never use that.

Daylight Saving Time

It’s Daylight Saving Time. Just “saving”—with no “s” at the end.

Savings refers to money most of the time, and this changing of the clocks isn’t about money (except perhaps indirectly).

We are apparently “saving” daylight by turning the clock ahead. So it’s just Daylight Saving Time.

Hope your body adjusts quickly! I’m still dragging….