I Pronounce Prose Incorrectly

Prose. Today I learned something very important about this very important word: The S is voiced. Pronounced like a Z.

It’s [pɹoʊz,] not [pɹoʊs] like I’ve said it basically my entire life.

I feel like a major, massive idiot, especially when I’m a writer. When I have a degree in Writing & Linguistics. When I’ve gone to writing conferences, and when I teach English. Somehow, throughout literal decades of using and discussing this word, I have completely overlooked the fact that the word rhymes with hose, not morose. And I’ve got to say, I’m feeling pretty morose right now, myself.

“Prose” is a homophone to “Pros.” Just… wow.

The Problem With Prose

Like, it’s such a simple mistake here that surely you’re going to dismiss it. “Yeah, everyone mispronounces certain words,” you’ll say. “No big deal, even if it’s coincidentally a very important word in your line of work.” Or even, “I bet nobody’s ever noticed, so you’re fine.”

But the problem isn’t that it’s an easy messup with an easy fix, or that I probably haven’t embarrassed myself before. It’s that I use this word A LOT. I have 100% internalized “prose” with an S; I’ve misdiagnosed. Even if people think it’s gross, it’s the way I’ve used the most. (OK I’ll stop now) With 15+ years of using this word, the incorrect pronunciation is forever melded to me.

Prose with a Z sounds… WRONG to me. I’ve repeated it over and over again today, trying to make it stick in my brain, and it just won’t work. I can only read it with the S, and that’s probably how it will always be. The rest of my life, I’m cursed to mispronounce a word that I am doomed to use constantly.

That, or I can like, hire a cognitive therapist to use aversion therapy. I’ll be so disgusted by the S “prose” that I’ll be forced to make the switch over time. Yes. The perfect way to spend thousands of dollars. Good.

I failed at life a little bit, but at least I still have some dignity. Wait, I don’t have that anymore, because I enjoyed Mortdecai. And, read about the time I was dumb and overlooked heterosexuality as something that exists…

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