The Grammarphobia Blog

So what’s permitted?

Q: I grew up saying “PER-mit” for the noun and “per-MIT” for the verb. But I sometimes hear the noun pronounced with the accent on the second syllable. Is this a regional variation? Curiously yours.

A: The verb “permit” is pronounced, as you note, with the accent on the second syllable: “Please per-MIT me to introduce myself.”

But the noun “permit” can be pronounced with the accent on either the first or the second syllable: “Do I need a construction PER-mit to remodel my house?” … “The state requires a gun per-MIT.”

These are the pronunciations given in both Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) and The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.).

So, both are permitted.

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