Pro • nun • ci • a • tion


The pronunciation of words such as caramel, crayon, syrup and coupon has long been a controversial topic. Is there a reason that people say these words the way they do? And, is there is right way to say these words?

Many people say that the pronunciation of words is completely subjective to the situation. “Context is very important. People are greatly influenced by the way that people around them talk,” says Pentucket sophomore Gabby Blake.

There are several ways to say the previously mentioned words: caramel can be pronounced  KARE-uh-mel or KAR-muhl; crayon can be pronounced KRAY-on or KRAN; syrup can be pronounced SUR-up or SEER-up; and coupon can be pronounced COO-pon or CYOO-pon.


The dictionary provides insight into the correct pronunciations; however, all pronunciations are acceptable.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the pronunciation of crayon as having two syllables (KRAY-on) and caramel with three syllables (KARE-uh-mel).


As for the other words, there is no way of knowing which pronunciation is correct. However, there are certain elements that affect how people pronounce these words.


The pronunciation of caramel is very closely connected to the region in which one lives; the three syllable pronunciation (KARE-uh-mel) is more common on the East Coast than other regions where it is said with two syllables (KAR-muhl). Pentucket sophomore Emily McFarland says, “It’s a KAR-muhl apple but a piece of KARE-uh-mel.” Many people use both pronunciations.


Of the people surveyed at Pentucket, the pronunciations of caramel were split half and half.


It seems that crayon is much more commonly pronounced with two syllables (KRAY-on). However, that may be specific to this region because this pronunciation is most common on the East Coast.


Of the Sachems surveyed, only one-sixth said crayon with one syllable (KRAN).


Regarding the pronunciation of coupon, a survey of Pentucket students uncovered that about two thirds of students said COO-pon, while only one third said CYOO-pon.


The pronunciations of these three words by Pentucket students were generally in correlation with the nationwide survey. The results of this survey can be found at the bottom of this article.


The pronunciation of syrup is surprisingly subjective. While only one third of Pentucket students said that they pronounce it as SUR-up, it seems that this is the most common pronunciation. According to the nationwide survey, the pronunciation of SEER-up is almost exclusive to the East Coast.


Everyone surveyed at Pentucket said that the context of the situation somehow affects the pronunciation of words. Pentucket sophomore Danielle Arsenault adds that “It also depends on how fast you say it.”


Unfortunately, we can never “pronounce” a winner on this topic because the pronunciation of words depends on various aspects of one’s life.

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*These percentages may not add up to 100%*