The correct way to pronounce the word is "offen" (silent "t"). Until very recently, dictionaries only listed that pronunciation. However, over time, people misspronounced it so frequently that many if not all dictionaries now list pronunciation with the "T" as acceptable but they also list pronunciation with the "t" silent as more acceptable and preferred. Most educated people pronounce it with the "t" silent. You even have people in this forum who insist that the correct way to pronounce it is with the "t" sound! That's a ad commentary on their education. Those in the know frown on the pronunciation with the "t" sound and often see it as a sign that the person who pronounces it that way is uneducated. In the not too distant past, a student would have been scolded by his teacher or parent if they pronounced it with a "t". For anyone who doesn't believe this, just do an internet search for "pronounce often" or something similar or look in a dictionary. When someone pronounces the word with a "t," it often grates on the ears of well-educated people.
The "t" is silent.
Thank you for sharing your views. Now I know the T is silent, just like the ones in pomptous and contdescending.
How lucky we are that you thought we merited being included into the circle of "those in the know"!
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For the record, I say of-ten. I always have. "For oft, when on my couch I lie/ In vacant or in pensive mood..."
I do like my poetry, and I've always thought of 'oft' as an independent little entity all of its own, so I suppose I prefer to give it some vocal recognition when I pronounce the related 'often.' According to Cambridge, of-ten is the correct pronunciation. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?dict=CALD&key=55124&ph=on
I've always thought of 'offen' as an American pronunciation.
You would be ill-advised to trust Cambridge folk, Anon. They are squat and packed with guile. Try an older Oxford dictionary instead, where you will find only the pronunciation "off-en" listed.
Or if you're fond of poetry, you can always reconcile yourself to "off-en" with Keats's lines:
"...O foolish rhyme! / What mighty power is in thee that so often / Thou strivest rugged syllables to soften..."
(The ejaculation is strangely apt.)
Pronouncing it with the "t" sound is uneducated? Sorry you're post is unreliable due to a couple reasons:
1) You left your name anonymous, how do we know where this information is coming from.
2) You mispelled "mispronounce" (spelling it, "misspronounce").
It's hard to swallow hat you're saying. It might be true that "often" is pronounced without the "t" sound (however, it has yet to be resolved), I'm sorry, your post doesn't adequately convince me.
Howard Leigh, PhD.
Hi, The t in often is silent. Thank you so much for asking. When I was small if we pronounced the t we were given a failing grade in English! My son is an English College Prof. and told me that it can be either way now because so many people pronounce the t that it actually changes the language. But you will be more respected by OLDER people if you say "ofen" instead of "ofTen" . Personally, I respect you for asking!
Usually,i use the latter.
Dear Howard Leigh Ph.D., If we are going to get into silly mudslinging battles over the word "often" and claiming illigitimacy of posts due to lack of name, qualifications, and misspellings then I suggest that you start with the very word misspelling which contains two of the letter "s". That is, of course, unless you intended to say that the previous poster pelled something incorrectly, but unfortunately I am not the beholder of a Ph.D. and therefore pell as a verb is not in my vocabulary, nor is it in my trusty old Webster's. Again if we follow your rules that misspellings invalidate a post let us return again to your second sentence where you used the contraction for "You are" when I believe you meant to use the posessive form "your", unless you intended to write "yore" and refer to some other ancient post that you believe to be unreliable. Also I should further point out to you that when you spelled "hat" at the beginning of your last paragraph, your word choice does probably contain a "w" at the beginning to make the word "what." But alas, you have a Ph.D. (in some field that you did not mention - grounds for an unreliable post perhaps?) so you were surely aware of these slight misspellings before criticizing those of others. As for me, I happen to pronounce "often" without the "t" because that is how I learned it, but also to keep with pronunciation schemes words like soft - soften, haste - hasten, chaste - chasten, and also hustle, bustle etc. It does make me cringe a little inside when I hear "often" pronounced with the "t," but if, as several have suggested, this pronunciation has resurged as a result of better and broader education and literacy throughout the world, then I believe that coping with the occasional pronunciation with a "t" is something I dearsay I would be happy to accept as a consequence. I apologize for the somewhat pomptuous (yes, with a silent t - props to that comment by the way) nature of this post, but we all should know that advice we receive from the internet on forum websites should be taken with a grain of salt and misspellings and typos are a reality of the high speed electronic age. Cheers, Peter Broch (sans Ph.D.)
Of course you would be anonymous. You are wrong!