No matter how great your command of the English language is, it will slip your notice at some point if it hasn’t already … the dreaded typo.
A typo or typographical error is a mistake made in the typing process of text. This may include speling and grammar errors, typing the same same word, or misplacing pesky apostrophe’s.
Did you notice my intentional errors in the previous sentence? Good for you! It’s my tongue-in-cheek stab at humor to propose this:
Let’s all take a break from grammar shaming and be compassionate toward those poor folks who accidentally leave a typo and even absolve those who are typo-prone.
Ouch! 5 Famous Typos That Will Make You Cringe
Pardon these errors …
1. Courtesy Granted to Prisoners Due to Belly Button Flint
While we’re more inclined to forgive those who are not in a writing profession, authors like famous Sci-Fi/Fantasy writer, H.P. Lovecraft, have been shown little mercy by the Grammar Police. Take for instance his typo in a passage of “The Fiction” …
… our vessel was made a legitimate prize, whilst we of her crew were treated with all the fairness and consideration due us as navel prisoners.
What he wished he had typed …
… our vessel was made a legitimate prize, whilst we of her crew were treated with all the fairness and consideration due us as naval prisoners.
2. Grammar-Shaming Attempt Gone Wrong
You know that saying, “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all!” Well, one celebrity should have heeded that advice when his attempt to shame an announcer’s poor grammar choice during a news broadcast went horribly wrong …
Fox announcer: “He was covered pretty good.” Boo. #DeathOfGrammer #LoweringTheBar
What he really meant …
Fox announcer: “He was covered pretty good.” Boo. #DeathOfGrammar #LoweringTheBar
3. Big Brother Is Watching
When a U.S. presidential hopeful launched an iPhone App in 2012 in order to help stir up support, his team made a case for copy editors everywhere with this slogan …
A Better Amercia
What he really meant …
A Better America
4. A Saucy and Wicked Bible
In their attempt to reprint the King James Bible in 1631, Robert Barker and Martin Lucas made a rather suggestive typo by unintentionally omitting the word “not” …
Thou shalt commit adultery.
What they meant …
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
5. Cue George Takei, “Oh Myyy!”
The University of Texas at Austin had to issue a special apology for the grievous error that appeared at the bottom of its 2012 Commencement programs …
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Pubic Affairs
What this prestigious institution really meant …
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
Why Is it So Difficult to Catch Errors Like This?
“Haste makes waste” they say and typos are often a result of hasty writing.
It’s unreasonable to expect someone to slow down to a snail’s pace when the pressure to publish is so extreme in the fast-paced writing world of articles, blogs, tweets, and posts.
To err is to be human; be compassionate toward those who make errors by perhaps sending them a polite message informing them of the mistake. As for your own writing, be as vigilant as you possibly can, but don’t let it paralyze your ability to create or publish.
How to Erase Embarrassing Typos in 5 Minutes
First, the number one rule of proofreading: DO NOT WRITE AND PROOFREAD AT THE SAME TIME. It’s just a waste of time. Proofread AFTER you’re done writing and revising your content.
Next, put on your copyediting hat and use these 5 tips to catch those embarrassing typos in 5 minutes per article.
- Use your spellcheck! For all of your article needs, we provide a spellcheck in the WYSIWYG of the Submit New Article form of your member account.
- Read your article out loud to catch awkward spelling and sentences – it really does work if you give it a concentrated effort.
- Look up definitions or grammar usage for areas you’re not positive on – it’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Improve your focus by closing the door to distractions and taking care of any stress that’s nagging you.
- Change the font type or even the font size to help you spot wayward errors.
Seek and Ye Shall Find
One final tip before you scramble to quickly hunt for those errors you repeatedly make:
Most computers will allow you to perform a quick search function by typing Ctrl F (for PC users) or CMD F (for MAC users) on your keyboard, which will bring up a navigation field. Here you can enter a word or phrase. For example, if “it’s” is a common typo for you, I’d recommend typing in “its” and then select Enter or Return to examine every occurrence of it in your article (ensuring it’s grammatically correct). Find “it’s” as well to be doubly sure.
If there’s one thing I’d like you to remember in this post, it’s this: when using the word “public,” double – no – triple check to make sure you remembered to add the “L.”
What typos plague you? What’s the worst (or funniest) typo you’ve come across? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you and feel free to share this gem that inspired this post:
Ode to the Typographical Error
“The typographical error is a slippery thing and sly;
You can hunt till you are dizzy, but it somehow will get by.
Till the forms are on the press, it is strange how still it keeps.
It shrinks down in a corner, and it never stirs or peeps –
That typographical error, too small for human eyes –
Till the ink is on the paper, when it grows to mountain size.
The boss, he stares with horror, then he grabs his hair and groans;
The copyreader drops his head upon his hands and moans.
The remainder of the issue may be clean as clean can be,
But the typographical error is the only thing you see.”
– Author Unknown
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