How is the word ‘genteel’ pronounced and how is it used in everyday context?

The first syllable ‘gen’ rhymes with ‘when’, ‘pen’ and ‘ten’, and the second with the words ‘peel’, ‘feel’ and ‘kneel’.

The word is pronounced ‘jen-TEEL’ with the stress on the second syllable. Many consider this word to be rather old fashioned and limit it to formal contexts. When you say that a person is ‘genteel’, what you mean is that he is someone who belongs to the upper class; an individual who is polite and well mannered. The word is mostly used to suggest that the person is a well-bred individual.

It has a negative connotation as well. It can be used in everyday context to refer to someone who is trying very hard to come across as being well bred; someone who does not belong to the upper class, but pretends that he is.


1. Jasmine was born into a very genteel family.

What is the difference between ‘alternate’ and ‘alternative’?

If you play tennis or cricket on ‘alternate’ days, you play the game every other day — not every day. For example, you may be playing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

‘Alternative’, on the other hand, suggests that there is a choice to be made. A person needs to choose from the things that are available. In American English, the two words are often used interchangeably.


1. Sarah was allowed to use the washing machine on alternate days.

2. The bank won’t lend us the money. What’s the alternative?


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