Kathryn Petras & Ross Petras

What’s New

Big News! You’re Saying It Wrong is now more than just a podcast; it’s now a weekly public radio show. Let your local NPR station know you’d like them to pick it up!
British-isms Pip pip and all that rot! It’s time for a look at the American love affair with sounding British … or TRYING to, that is. So put down that bumbershoot and pop in for a listen! 
The Good Kind of Stress It’s time to get stressed out! This week, we’re talking sentence stress: how we use emphasis on specific words to get our meaning across … and how changing that stress changes the entire meaning. (We get SEVEN different meanings from the exact same sentence. Pretty wild!)
Return of the Confusables It’s time to flaunt the rules! Incredulous as it may sound, we’ve planned a truly climatic episode of You’re Saying It Wrong this week. In case you haven’t guessed yet– but you seem VERY intelligent, so we’re sure you did — we’re talking one of our fave subjects — Confusables, those words that sound a lot like other words but have totally different meanings. 
Weird Word Origins ot off the presses … or, rather, radio waves! This week’s newest espisode — words that SOUND like they’re related to other words, but actually aren’t. Except sometimes they are …  e’re talking words like shamefaced, checkmate and, everyone’s fave vomitorium! Where’d they come from anyway, huh?!?
We look at some “rules” of the language that were mostly just made up so people could feel like they were speaking proper English.
Sticky, tricky grammar moments Quick — right or wrong? “I feel bad about that.” Or do you feel badly? “The fish made me nauseous.” Or … nauseated? While we’re at it, can you feel abject joy? Is something momentous historical or historic? We could go on about these niggling grammar questions — and we do, on this week’s episode of You’re Saying It Wrong! 
Psilence! It’s the Attack of the Extra (silent) Letter. In this week’s show, we look at words that aren’t pronounced like they’re spelled—from colonel to solemn to comptroller —and talk about why the baffling spelling exists in the first place.
The Latin Craze We dig into why certain words are spelled ridiculously thanks to a bunch of scholars a few hundred years ago who got a little too nutso about making everything look Latin.
Sneaky rules we don’t know we follow Why do you say “your friend’s car” instead of “the car of your friend”? Why do you say an artist paints “still lifes” instead of “still lives” or un-freakin-believable” instead of”un-be-freakin-lievable”? It’s all due to those sneaky rules of English!
Hyperforeignisms and other times we just get too excited  A discussion about words that have been imported into English from other languages—from foyer to forte to coup de grace—and how we sometimes go a little nutso trying to make them sound as “correct” as possible (and fail).
Doublespeak! The unconscious ways we follow the rules of English by doubling sounds and words, and how meanings of words can change when we say them twice. Now: are you confused? Or are you confused confused?
The Words of 2023 We kick off  2024 with a look at the words of LAST year as chosen by different dictionaries, plus discussion about how and why they were chosen … and IF they should have been chosen. (Yup, let’s just say we’re not really rizzed up by rizz …) ( You’re Saying it Wrong on NPR)
Deck the Halls The weird and wonderful backgrounds of many holiday words, a reindeer controversy …. and you’ll never think about a partridge in a pear tree the same way!  (You’re Saying it Wrong on NPR)
Stop being so non-positive! You can’t get no satisfaction? Maybe listening to this week’s podcast all about negatives — double and even triple! — will help. It isn’t not fun at all! You’re Saying it Wrong on NPR)
Escher sentences (and other nice ways of saying nothing) Today we look at phrases that seem at first glance to mean something, but are actually complete nonsense. You’re Saying it Wrong on NPR)
Garden paths, crash blossoms, and other terrible ways of saying things  Sometimes what we say or write can be grammatically correct but still make no sense whatsoever. “The horse raced past the barn fell.” Huh? Welcome to the wonderful world of garden path sentences, crash blossoms (Stolen Painting Found by Tree), & a bit of antanaclastis. You’re Saying it Wrong on NPR)
Autumn Mailbag! Now that we’re out of summer, it’s finally cooled down enough for us to go outside to check the mailbox! We tackle listener questions like “is it enamored OF or enamored BY?” and talk about the new phrase that’s apparently catching on — “whom of which.” (Yeah, we don’t get it either, but it’s happening!) You’re Saying it Wrong on NPR)
The dictionary’s newest words (part 2) More of the newest words just added to dictionaries. Rage farming, pessimize, and hallucinate (but in a new way!) — and one old word just added (snite?!?). Also a huge serving of humble pie for one of us (well, Kathy) — no way to whitewash that! (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
The dictionary’s newest words It’s time to take a look at the newest words being added to the dictionary — Jugging! Cakeage! Greenwashing! And, of course, nepo baby! Where’d they come from and what do they actually mean … and are they REALLY dictionary-worthy? (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
 Grammar thingies  It’s time for the Little Irritating Language Things that Always Trip Us Up! That vs which, who vs that, may vs might, “an historical” or “a historical.” Arrgh! (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
You’re Spelling It Wrong 2023 It’s nearly back-to-school time … so we get in the spirit with a spelling bee with some of the most commonly misspelled words in English. Can you spell them right? (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
The words of summer We’re talking summer adjectives this episode. Not basic ones like hot or sticky, but COMPLICATED ones like estival (not festival!), apricate & spoondrift. What do they mean & where did they come from? It’s hot fun in the summertime with cool words on YSIW! (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
Around the World in 30 Minutes It’s time for some globe-hopping to some of the world’s most problematically pronounced places, sent in to us by listeners! From Aix-en-Provence to Lodz to Ptuj … how do you say it right?!?! (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
You’re telling me that’s English?? (Part 2)  Having been bamboozled by Kathy and Ross in the previous episode, Fletcher resolves to get at one question right this time around. Don’t hold your breath, Fletch. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
You’re telling me that’s English??  With the words we use in English coming from so many different languages, Kathy and Ross challenge Fletcher to a quiz about word origins. And somehow we end up talking about both bazookas and grenades, so things escalate quickly. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
Let’s do a grammar quiz!  Which is right?: “The majority of them are here” OR “The majority of them is here.” Yes, it’s grammar quiz time on YSIW! Can you get these right? (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
Road trip!  We take a trip through some of the most commonly mispronounced places in the good ol’ USA. Mackinac? Spokane? And what’s the deal with Cheesequake? Hop in! Things might get a little bumpy …     (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
That used to mean what??!  It’s Words that Meant Different Things time! We’re talking about words that started out with rather different meanings when they first entered the English language … like guy, condescension and … meat. Yes, meat!  (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)  
We did it by (on?) accident! A listener question forces us to take a hard look at how we use prepositions. Do you stand ON line or IN line? ( And does something happen ON or BY accident?  And why can’t we do things BY purpose?   (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
The twisted world of bureaucracy  Having tried to wrap our heads around the world of academic language, we now take a stab at trying to untangle the meaning of phrases bureaucracies and corporations produce as they try to sound fancy (and avoid legal trouble). (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
In the hells of academia This week’s podcast: prompted by a listener question, we try (“try” being the key word) to make sense of the dense overbloated verbiage that is academese. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR
Mailbag day! We head back to the mailbag to answer some listener questions, We cover a grab bag of things we’ve been asked — from the genesis of “woke, to why balls career instead of careen, plus a quick look at something common in English and only about 1% of other languages: the very bossy R.(You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
That still doesn’t mean what you think it means, part 2 Regimen vs regime, hysterical vs hilarious, the REAL meaning of prodigal vs its current use, & other words that are changing even as we use them. (Culled from our book That Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means, just out as an audiobook!)  (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
That still doesn’t mean what you think it means A look at some of the words we wrote about in  That Doesn’t Mean What You Think it Means that continue to confuse people — from ambivalent to chronic, pristine to random, emigrate to immigrate, not to mention e.g. and i.e. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
The Staying Power of Slang  A lot of slang words only last a year or two, but others stick around. We take a look at some that have stood the test of time, and it turns out a lot of them are older than we realize. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR
Penguin-Random House This Is the Author Podcast  We talk about recording the audio books of You’re Saying it Wrong, That Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means, and Awkword Moments 
Searching for meaning in Gen Z slang  The old people try their hand at sussing out the meanings of Gen Z slang words, although we all remain skeptical that actual people in Gen Z use any of these words. Groovy! (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
Gray Area for Gray Matter: On the Time Einstein’s Brain was Stolen — A Quest for the Biological Basis of Genius (excerpt on LitHub from our book A History of the World Through Body Parts)