The Grammarphobia Blog

How do you say “affluent”?

Q: Senator John Edwards uses the word “affluent” frequently and pronounces it with the accent on the second syllable. My dictionary says it should be on the first syllable. Can you tell me what is correct?

A: The correct pronunciation is “AFF-loo-ent” (short “a” as in “apple,” accent on the first syllable). The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language allows a second pronunciation for “affluent” with the stress on the second syllable. It’s less common, though, and it doesn’t sound very fluent to me.