February

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This is one of the 117 mis-spellings listed as 'Common difficulties' in the section on 'Spelling' within 'Writing' in UEfAP.


The name of the month of February is spelled with two 'r's: February.

  • The pronunciation may mislead some writers into mis-spelling the word. Although older (and more pedantic) speakers like to hear both '-r-'s realized, many educated speakers pronounce the second syllable (thus the first '-r-') as '-you-'. This is the majority pronunciation in American English, according to LPD. In both British and American English, casual speech often elides the third syllable. Pronunciations of February may therefore be any of 'FEB-roo-eh-ri' (IPA: /ˈfɜb ru ə rɪ/); 'FEB-you-eh-ri' (/ˈfɜb ju ə rɪ/); 'FEB-roo-ri' (/ˈfɜb ruː rɪ/); 'FEB-your-i' (/ˈfɜb juː rɪ/); and sometimes even 'FEB-ri' (/ˈfɜb rɪ/).
('If you spell February correctly, you can eat twice as many oysters.' This is a feeble joke based on an old convention which said that oysters and other shellfish should only be eaten in months with names containing an 'r'. This convention had a sound basis in the past, because during the summer months (whose names do not include an 'r') there was a risk they could spoil and cause food poisoning. Nowadays, we have fridges, and can eat them whenever we like.)