How to Deal with Someone You Have Offended

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Reader Comments (72)

I really _really_ thought the punchline to that was going to invovle the word "inefficient"...

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDev Null

Grammatically, shouldn't that be "MORE stupid than you actually are" ?

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSnagg

Thanks for another shooting-coffee-through-my-nose moment, Scott. Really, you'd think I'd know better by now than to drink coffee while reading BI, but I'm a slow learner, apparently...

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTerrance Shuman

I'm from Colorado and I'm with the ray-shee-oh...ers. (Actually, ray-shyo, but still basically three.) Maybe it's a general western thing.

I had no idea when I came to read BI this morning that I was going to learn there's a whole segment of the population who would be offended by proper pronunciation of an innocuous word.

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLythande

I've never heard any other pronunciation of 'ratio' than the three syllable 'ray-shee-oh'... and I've lived all over the U.S.


Every panel hilarious! Good one, Scott!

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Dictionary.com gives this pronunciation of "ratio": [rey-shoh, -shee-oh]

I imagine that in everyday speech, I would use rey-shoh, but when I'm thinking about how it's pronounced, I would use rey-shee-oh.

Considering the bassackwardsness of Americanese, I could just as easily understand rey-shee-oh to be correct and lazy speaking melding it into rey-shoh or rey-shoh to be correct and trying to sound smart overcomplicating it to rey-shee-oh.

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMKE Dave

OK, so regionalisms allow for both 'ray-she-oh' and 'ray-sho,' but I for one have always used and heard 'ray-she-oh.' 40+ years in the US midwest from the Dakotas to Chicago to Wisconsin, I've never heard it pronounced differently, including in tv shows/documentaries and film (almost all of which would have been made outside of the region).
I have never, ever heard 'fam-lee' as a proper nor accepted way to pronounce 'fam-ill-ee,' though.

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCR

My mother, from Kansas, manged to turn 'milk' into a polysyllable, and add a syllable to 'tiger'. Thank heaven I don't remember how she pronounced ratio. (she wouldn't have understood this comic)

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergobbler

New York, always been ray-she-oh to me. So how do you people pronounce patio then? Pat-yo? Pah-sho?

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

I've always heard ratio with two syllables (I live in Iowa)
What is a rational number of syllables for "ration", then?

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoseph

Greg, how do you pronounce patio? pey-shee-oh? I would think the different pronunciation of the T in patio and ratio would make the pronunciation of one irrelevant to the pronunciation of the other.

Also, I do find it odd that so many people are so definitively saying that they've never heard it said with two syllables. Like others have said, for such an unassuming word, a lot of people seem to be passionate that they're saying it correctly and that the other way is incorrect (while the evidence shows that both are correct).

All that said, I do not recall the last time I heard ratio in everyday speech, so I couldn't tell you how I hear it pronounced in my corner of the midwest.

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMKE Dave

Dave H, wooo-eee! Listen to the college boy here, tellin' us how to pronounce family! "Fam-lee," all fancy-pants, like 'em Frenchies! What's a matter, boy? Are you too good to pronounce it "fam-blee" like the rest of your... well, family does?

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHiram Q. Pustule

I like to think that everyone really does say "ray-show" if they use the word every day (like I do) but when they think about it, they insist on sounding it out "ray-she-oh." But I promise, if you say it about six hundred times a day, you will say "ray-show" no matter what part of the country you're from.

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterILookLikeComicScott

Long ago I decided that since being understood was my goal, it wouldn't hurt my pride to dumb down my language to the level of my listener.
Only problem is, I'm not any good at it. I forget and use a big word, or I sound like I'm mocking the other person.

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDee

To add to the fire on ratio, I've lived in Manitoba (Canada), Idaho, and Alaska. I've heard ray-she-oh and rah-she-oh, but never ray-sho. And I love how hat guy is complaining about big words, then says 'inefficient'.

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercanuckian

Here in central Texas it's "RAY-show" and "FAM-lee". And hey, let's throw in an aria from Aida.

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBabyDoc

I prefer to pronounce "ratio" as "ptkmpf."

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterByron Black

I have to weigh in, if only because the "rey-she-oh-ers" seem to be so far ahead. I agree with 'central Texas' and 'six-hundred-timer' that there probably *is* a second syllable "she" --
but it goes by VERY fast, so as to be indistinguishable (6 syllables there) in common speech from the two-syllable "rey-shoh" version with which I am most familiar.
(I am also agreeing with FAM-lee for the same 'super-quick-syllable' reason,
and that FAM-ih-lee seems so have some kind of hiccup/pause in it that is not needed.)

While we are on the subject, should we expand the discussion to include
"What is the *proper* pronunciation of 'didn't'
(between didnt, di-dunt, and dint)?"
I like the first, and the other two are really annoying!

March 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRealSoutherner

@MrGuy Thank you! I've actually gotten out the dictionary to prove to people that "times" and "minus" are not verbs and that saying "Then you times it by this" makes you look silly. What is so hard about using "multiply" and "subtract"?

March 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I was taught to speak over the course of 10 years because of a crippling speech impediment. In my 1-on-1 classes I was taught "Pan-American English". Anyway, I tend to enunciate better than most other Americans and I usually say words the "correct" way.

Way too many people drop syllables or even parts of speech for no reason.

If you pronounce ratio as ray-sho, you're probably stupid.

March 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike

One of my favorite things to do on "off" days (no new comic day) is to review the comments for Scott & Missy's feedback. I am shocked first of all by the ratio controversy and even more so by Scott and Missy not weighing in on the issue.
Don't get me wrong, let this crazy train run its course. I was just surprised that you were able to contain yourselves.

I actually left an entire comment under my own name. You can take my third ratio syllable from my cold, dead hands. :) ~Missy

March 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Wow. Commenter Mike thinks that "If you pronounce ratio as ray-sho, you're probably stupid."

Okey dokey Mikey. However, I assume that most people realize that dictionaries show you how to pronounce words. Webster's Unabridged (this is the actual book, not off the Internet) gives "ray-sho" as its favored pronunciation, while also listing ray-she-oh as an alternate. I wouldn't doubt that the three syllable version was originally *the* correct one, but language evolves. As another comment, which I can't find right now, pointed out, even people who say ray-she-oh, probably don't say "ra-she-on-al" for rational.

The whole thing is kind of funny. I suspect people who have lived all over the U.S. and claim never to have heard one version or the other, are just exhibiting selective attention and memory.

I'll stick with the two syllable ratio. The three syllable one is fine for those who deliberately over-pronounce their words, such as those who pronounce the t in "often". (look it up)

March 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarco

Ok, so people from all parts of the country are saying that they've never heard ratio pronounced with 2 syllables. So I'm wondering, is this like the banana joke? Are we being pranked?

March 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames

How would David Caruso pronounce it?

Very (sunglasses) ... balanced. YEEAAAAHHHH! ~Missy

March 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterILookLikeComicScott

Yeah, I've lived in CA, NY and NM, and I don't think I've ever heard the ray-show version, it's always ray-shee-oh or at least ray-shyo. To my knowledge, I've never heard any Texans pronounce it that way either, but then again I don't think I've ever had a rational converation with one either...

J/K: I know you have guns. Please don't kill me for my puns. Or rhymes.

March 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob

For what it's worth, I've never heard the three-syllable pronunciation of "ratio". And I'm an engineer, so I'm surrounded by people who use this word all the time. Mostly people from the southern and midwestern U.S. Scott has opened a fascinating can of regionally accented worms here.

March 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim

I've lived in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, Indiana, and North Carolina, and I'm not sure I've ever heard someone pronounce "ratio" with only two syllables.

March 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEric Phillips

The word 'ratio' ends in a dipthong. That may sound like a French swimming costume, but it is actually a voiced sound that smooshes between two regular vowel sounds within the same syllable according to Wikipedia. This which means "ratio" would have two syllables if you pronounced it "raish-yeow", and three if you separated the final two vowels as "raish-ee-owe" instead of blending them.

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRIchard Kirk

My thought process when reading this was:

"Ray-sho has three syllables? 'Ray-she-oh'. Huh. I guess it does."

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike M

Ah, pronunciation. Down here a lot of people say "pro-NOUN-see-a-shun", but I always want to hear "pro-nun-see-A-shun". Should we just let these differences go?
Probly.

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBabyDoc

The only people I've heard say "rayshow" when they meant ratio are all afflicted with strong Southern accents. Those poor, poor souls. ;)

September 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimpler Simon

If I had a dime for every time I was apprehended and reminded of how to express my properly in my childhood for "speaking posh," I might be able to pay someone to teach the no-brained farm-kids I grew up amongst to utter phrases such as "distinguished," but that's probably just because I never knew them closely enough.

I'm pretty sure they weren't capable of counting syllables, regardless of how one might pronounce the word "idiot." (Which, of course, has three syllables.)

September 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwolf

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