I"ve come across answers that say something along the lines of, "Well I"ve only heard people pronounce it ev"ry."

Yeah, well if people started mass-jumping off of buildings, that doesn"t mean I"d do it.

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All jokes aside, my point is that people pronounce words differently depending on where you live. "Vietnom" versus "Vietnam", "fahr" (one syllable) versus "fire" (fy-yer).

I"m sort of conflicted about even asking this question, because it"s something I need to know for a poem. But in poetry it can be okay to bend/break rules, whether it be slightly changing the enunciation or pronunciation of a word, or not using capitalization in the case of haiku, etc.

Still, tl;dr, I was just curious what people on here thought.

If it"s only two syllables, why? If "ever" is a two syllable word--why wouldn"t it be ev-er-ee?

What would make "ev-er-ee" wrong? Some old rule in a dusty tome buried by the sands of time?


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edited Sep 21 "16 at 12:28
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Andrew Leach♦
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Kyle SmithKyle Smith
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The word every started out as a contraction of Old centregalilee.com ǽfre ǽlc (each of a group), and the OED gives many Middle centregalilee.com spellings, such as efrec, which only indicate two syllables. Others, such as æveric, do indicate three. It"s hard to tell whether they really pronounced it with three syllables, or whether they were spelling it so as to show the relation to the word ever.

If you look at Shakespeare"s sonnets, he invariably pronounces every with two syllables. For example, in

Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe, That every tongue says beauty should look so,

if you pronounce every with three syllables, the line doesn"t scan.

The two-syllable pronunciation has existed since Middle centregalilee.com. People who pronounce it evry aren"t wrong in any sense.

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So to answer your question: If it"s only two syllables, why?Because some people have been pronouncing it with two syllables from the time when they shoved the two words ǽfre ǽlc together to get efrec.

The OED gives both the two-syllable and the three-syllable pronunciations, and I certainly think it"s acceptable to use either pronunciation in a poem.