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.