Is that what you mean? – Severe X Several

Hey all, how was the weekend? Mine was lazy, as it often is 😉

Well, today I’d like to call your attention to these two words, severe and several, because not only do Brazilian students mistake one for the other, they also tend to mix up their pronunciation.

First, let’s go through their definitions. Both of them are adjectives (although several can also be considered as a determiner and pronoun), but let’s just focus on the fact that they both qualify or specify a noun. In this sense, you can use severe to refer to an array of nouns and express that something is harsh, rigorous, difficult, distressful or even dangerous:

Whereas several refers to a number more than two or three but not many, various:

Now, let’s focus on pronunciation.

When you pronounce severe, make sure to stress the 2nd syllable and, most importantly, pay attention to the way you pronounce the vowels e, for in Portuguese they don’t vary much, whilst in English each one has a different sound in this word. Listen and practice:

severe

And when you pronounce several, you should emphasize the 1st syllable and, again, mind the way you articulate the vowels:

several

It may seem something of minor significance, but the difference in the way we pronounce the vowels in these two words is probably the main reason why foreign students mismanage them so much. Hence, spend some time analysing and pronouncing them.

Have a great week!

E aĂ­, que tal o fim de semana? O meu foi preguiça pura, como geralmente Ă© 😉

Hoje eu quero falar sobre estas duas palavras, severe e several, porque estudantes brasileiros nĂŁo sĂł escolhem uma quando deveriam ter escolhido a outra como tambĂ©m confundem muito a pronĂșncia delas.

Antes de tudo, vamos revisar as definiçÔes e classe. Ambas as palavras são adjetivos (apesar de several também poder ser considerada numeral e pronome), mas vamos nos concentrar apenas em uma coisa: ambas especificam ou caracterizam um substantivo. Dessa forma, podemos usar severe com uma gama extensa de substantivos e, assim, dizer que algo é severo, rigoroso, ríspido, årduo e até mesmo grave:

Enquanto several se refere a um nĂșmero ou quantidade superior a dois ou trĂȘs, mas nĂŁo no sentido de muitos, e sim de vĂĄrios (various):

Agora, vamos explorar a pronĂșncia delas.

Ao pronunciar severe, acentue a 2a.  sĂ­laba e, principalmente, preste atenção em como vocĂȘ realiza as vogais e, porque em portuguĂȘs elas nĂŁo variam muito, sĂł que em inglĂȘs cada uma delas  tem um som diferente nesta mesma palavra. Ouça e pratique:

severe

E, ao pronunciar several, a ĂȘnfase Ă© na 1a. sĂ­laba e, de novo, seja bastante atento com as vogais:

several

Pode parecer algo pequeno e insignificante, mas o modo como pronunciamos as vogais destas duas palavras pode ser a causa mais provĂĄvel de estudantes estrangeiros (ou pelo menos os brasileiros) se atrapalharem tanto com o uso delas. Portanto, vale a pena investir um tempinho para estudar e pronunciar cada uma delas direitinho.

Tenham uma Ăłtima semana!

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About Isabella Ferraro

English examiner, teacher and frustrated ballerina. Geek, gauche, obsessed with books, podcasts and the web. Dedicated professional and blogger, tho. More info below blog's header.
This entry was posted in Error correction, Grammar, ICAO test, Is that what you mean?, Portuguese, Pronunciation, Second Language, Vocabulary and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Is that what you mean? – Severe X Several

  1. Pingback: How do you pronounce “responsible”? | English as a Foreign Language

  2. Pingback: How do you pronounce “Profession”? | English as a Foreign Language

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