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18 celebrity names you might be saying wrong

Here's how to properly pronounce Ariana Grande, Jake Gyllenhaal and others.
TODAY Illustration / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

You're pronouncing celebrities' names wrong — probably.

But that's OK: You're in good company, 'cause we're guilty of it, too. Celebrities are as diverse in the way they spell and pronounce their names as we are (probably more so, being artistes and all) and it's nearly impossible to keep up with everyone.

Fortunately, TODAY is here to help. Here's a list of 18 celebrities you'll recognize, and may have even seen in movies or TV or on your bookshelves … but may have never said their names right before — and Jake Gyllenhaal, we're looking at you!

Alicia Silverstone.Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Alicia Silverstone

Say: "Ah-LEE-see-ah"

The "Clueless" star recently noted on TikTok that this was the way to say her first name (her surname seems pretty straightforward).

Mariska Hargitay.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Mariska Hargitay

Say: "Mar-ISH-kah Har-GIH-tay"

The beloved veteran star of "Law & Order: SVU" seems to finally be getting traction with her Hungarian-derived name, but saying it with that little "ish" in the middle is kind of fun!

Saoirse Ronan.Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Saoirse Ronan

Say: "SUR-sha Ronan"

We know you're going to want to say the Bronx-born, Ireland-raised "Lady Bird" star's first name with a great big "OW" in the middle, but trust us, the Irish language does these things differently.

Zendaya.Handout / A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

Zendaya

Say: "Zen-DAY-uh"

The "Euphoria" star goes by just one name, and that one is enough to confuse people. Keep the "day" in there and you'll be fine.

Ariana Grande.Getty Images

Ariana Grande

Say: "Ar-ee-an-uh GRAND-ee"

The pop princess and new "Voice" judge said in a 2018 radio interview that her grandfather had one pronunciation ("GRAND-ee") but then her brother changed it to "GrAHn-day," but she said she preferred the old way.

Neil Gaiman.Mike Marsland / WireImage

Neil Gaiman

Say: "Neel GAY-man"

The author of "Coraline" and "Sandman" and co-author of "Good Omens" understands why you might say "GUY-man," but it's really not that way. "The ones who always got it wrong would confuse me with Neil Diamond," he told ADAMICradio in 2018.

Rihanna.Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Bergdorf Goodman

Rihanna

Say: "Ree-HAHN-uh"

The "What's My Name" singer's name is easier to say than you may guess.

Amanda Seyfried.Chris Pizzello / Getty Images

Amanda Seyfried

Say: "Ah-man-duh SIGH-fred"

The "Mank" star wants you to stop putting a hard "G" into her last name, and not include "fried," like "fried chicken." That said, she noted in a 2012 interview for Hollywood Streams that her sister pronounces it differently!

Joe Manganiello.David Crotty / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Joe Manganiello

Say: "Mang-GAH-nello"

We're not going to bother telling you how to pronounce "Joe," but trust us: The "Magic Mike" actor and husband of Sofia Vergara does not need you putting more consonants in there, as he told Just Jared in 2014.

Gal Gadot.Keith Mayhew / LightRocket via Getty Images

Gal Gadot

Say: "Gal Gah-dote"

For the Israeli-born "Wonder Woman" star, start with "Gal" as in "My Gal Sal" and then keep your "o" long in the last name, as in "to dote on someone."

Chiwetel Ejiofor.Jeff Spicer / Getty Images

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Say: "Chew-IT-ell EDGE-ee-oh-four"

The British-born Oscar-nominated star's Nigerian name doesn't start with "Chi," like the nickname for "Chicago"; it's "chew." As for his last name, keep the "edge" in there but make that "d" a bit softer than normal.

Ralph Fiennes.Felix H?rhager / picture alliance via Getty Image

Ralph Fiennes

Say: "RAY-ph Fines"

Two-time Oscar nominee and "The Dig" star Fiennes has one of the hardest sort of names, because it looks like one thing and is in fact something else entirely. Fellow actor Rafe Spall avoided the "ph" issue with the Norman-origin name, but the concept is the same. As for his last name, just think "fines" like if you don't bring back your library book on time and all will be well. And be glad he only uses these names; Fiennes' full name is actually Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes.

Daniel Kaluuya.Matt Petit / A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

Daniel Kaluuya

Say: "Kuh-LOO-ya"

"Daniel" you'll likely have a handle on; it's the Oscar-winner's Ugandan-origin surname that might trip you up.

Jake Gyllenhaal.John Shearer / WireImage

Jake Gyllenhaal

Say: "YILLEN-hoo-leh-hay"

Go with a hard or soft "G" on this one? The answer is "neither." It's a Swedish-origin name that Conan O'Brien poured his whole body into pronouncing with the actor in 2012. Gyllenhaal said that his take was correct in Sweden "and Ikea," but he appeared resigned to no one ever getting it right. Even his "Prince of Persia" co-stars weren't sure about how to say or spell it in 2010. (Also reference his actor sister Maggie, who probably has the same issues.)

Lupita Nyong'o.Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

Lupita Nyong'o

Say: "Loo-pee-ta Nuh-YONG-oh"

The Kenyan-Mexican "Black Panther" actor may have an apostrophe at the end of her first name, but vocally it seems to come at the front of that word. At least "Tonight Show" host Fallon seemed to get it right when they spoke in 2014.

Milo Ventimiglia.Steve Granitz / WireImage

Milo Ventimiglia

Say: "My-low VEN-teh-milli-ya"

That's a long "I" in the "This Is Us" actor's first name, then keep that "g" in his last name soft and it should roll right off the tongue.

Hasan Minhaj.Kevin Winter / Getty Images for Turner Sports

Hasan Minhaj

Say: "HASS-en MIN-hahj"

The charming "Patriot Act" host has heard a lot of variations on his name, but he corrected Ellen DeGeneres on her show about pronouncing it when things went haywire in 2019. Basically, keep the emphasis up front and don't let the vowels lead you astray.

Peter Krause.Trae Patton / Getty Images

Peter Krause

Say: "KROW-za"

"I grew up being called Peter 'KROW-zee' so my sister and I became 'lousy Krause,'" the "Parenthood" and "Six Feet Under" star told Kelly Clarkson in January. When he moved to New York, though, he made a change and made it "KROW-za," which is how it would be pronounced in Germany or Poland.

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