T is for Tipos Typos

In one of my favorite websites, Regret the Error, there is a lengthy column about how copy editing errors take place, in this case, the Washington Post, and what to do about it. One quote from the Post: “Mistakes occur more frequently online than in print, generally, because online copy goes through fewer editors…But online errors are easier and faster to correct.”

I am a rather good speller. I remember that I was so proud to get 100 in my 5th grade spelling final. Though I was no good at spelling bees; I need to write it down in order to ascertain that it looks wrong. But spellcheck has made me lazy. Add to that the fact that I’m a lousy typist and one will discover typos in this blog.

This used to pain me greatly, and still bugs me. Some mornings, I reread my blog and only then do I see my egregious error. Generally, it’s a word that is a homonym. I DO know the difference between hear and here, I really do. Or I’m distracted and leave off a repeated letter or series of letters, such as Missippi for Mississippi.

There are words I tend to check, such as words ending in ible and able, or ance and ence. I remember a rare time watching a show called Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, and I recall that the ‘1st grade word’ was allegiance; does it have 2 or 3 Es? Having a second grader, I don’t think it’s a first grade word at all.

Some words I have tricks for spelling. For instance, facetious I know has the five vowels, in order (and six, if one adds the -ly). Still I pronounce it wrong in my mind: FACE tee us, rather than fah SEE shus.

There are some bloggers who are generally good spellers. I tend to send e-mails to people I believe who know the difference, but just made a mistake. One blogger I follow wrote warp in a place that didn’t make sense. I mentioned another error in the sentence; then he changed warp to wrap. I then suggested warm, and he realized THAT was the correct word.

Whereas some folks that just don’t know the difference between its and it’s, despite previous correction, I tend not to bother; noting this would just be harassment. I used to correct because I figured people might think that they were less well informed; now I recognize, in a world of C U L8R texts, that may not necessarily be the case.

In any case, I really like these proofreading tips from the New York Times. Among the points: Use spelling checkers but don’t trust them. In particular, be aware of homophone confusion: complement and compliment, accept and except, effect and affect, oversees and overseas. Rather like what I’ve experienced.

Incidentally, even the typo watchdogs can make mistakes.


ABC Wednesday – Round 9

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42 thoughts on “T is for Tipos Typos

  1. Regarding typos…my most favorite: When our statewide newspaper blazoned the headline–top story of the day–“Governor Suffers Pubic Embarrassment”…they’d obviously forgotten the “l” or did they? Made for a rousing day at publication headquarters and the axing of at least one editor who was asleep at the switch….Oh, I’m Biddy Bytes, and I’ve been at it (blogging) for 18 months now…Found you on ken levine

  2. Oh, Roger… as a copy editor myself, it’s always embarrassing when one gets past me on my blog! Hey, I edited a book, think I told you: Bruce Lee, Woodstock & Me, by Fred Weintraub. Guess what? It got picked up by Barnes & Noble!! Hope it sells… it’s all about that 50s-60s Village scene. Fred started The Bitter End and nurtured many careers…

    My best typo story was when someone at a hunger organization had a program called PRIDE (acronym; don’t remember what it stands for). She wanted to go out to all the food pantries and offer cooking classes, etc. The letter went out to 24 churches without proofreading, and she wrote:
    “…would you like to have PRIDE in your panty?”

    Was her face red when she showed me the letter!! We laughed until we cried. Thanks, Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/living-love-for-kate/

  3. What a wonderful post – I’m laughing and crying at the same time. I, too, have always been a good speller and a good grammarian. I cringe when I see mistakes, especially when I know the person has the ultimate education! And when I find a typo in one of my own pieces of writing – well, I wish the floor would swallow me up. If you check last week’s intro (letter S) I made a typo but it was too late to be bothered to change. Did you see it? *face reddening*

    • Yes, Leslie, I did, actually – mothers/mother’s. There was also a typo in THIS post this morning, which I corrected. Typed the same letter twice. Oy.

  4. A truly interesting thread. Typos happen because I cannot type as well as I can spell. This condition is worsening since my left and right hand won’t take equal turns so now typos are dysleixc πŸ˜‰

  5. Timely topic and terrific T post. I’ve always had trouble with using antiquated spelling. From a young age I enjoyed very old books and the spelling that got into my brain for some words is no longer used. In general though I’ve never been a good speller but oddly am pretty good at proofing because when reading other people’s typing it will hit me if something is off. I’m terrible about not taking the time though to proof when blogging or commenting.

  6. Oh, yes. A retired court reporter, I now work as a proofreader for other court reporters, so I am sorely embarrassed when I commit a typo! It’s much harder to read your own work than others’, because others make more mistakes than we! Or so we would like to believe! I do love catching those signs, don’t you!

  7. Some days are easier than others, too, it seems. I hate finding a spelling error in my blog, but at least I don’t have to worry about perfectionism. πŸ™‚
    Excellent post, as always!

  8. Love those signs. Oh yes, it must be one of the immutable laws of the net, having checked and altered and confidently posted, only then the mistake/s are noticed. Any 1st grader can beat me at spelling, although in mitigation I can usually recognise when a word is wrong but possibly not how to make it right. Hurray for spell-checker which also provides entertainment when it suggests an unlikely and unrelated word.

  9. Fabulous post for T-day! I, for one, am grateful for the times you’ve caught a typo or two and let me know (in the nicest of terms, of course)! Sometimes we look at copy for so long, our name could be misspelled and we’d never see it!

  10. Hello.
    I’m not that much of a typist & my spelling/grammar definitely need work. I tend to palm everything off on my Executive Assistant (harassed wife) whose good with that sort of thing. Sadly, being imperfect humans, we’ll always make mistakes.
    I have been known on occasion to point out minor spelling mistakes, but I know some people don’t take too kindly to that, so now I just don’t bother.
    Thanks for sharing & visiting. I appreciate the comment.

    A Trembling Flower And You

    (Did you spot the deliberate mistake?)

  11. It is my opinion that good spellers are born, not made – not sure about grammarians. Everyone is wired a little differently, – I was lucky, and got the ‘spellrite’ wiring, – but am often humbled by carelessness.

  12. Whoever coined Mississippi? πŸ˜€ Ah well, spelling should be easier than grammar, as proofreading should be easier than editing. Just me and my two cents though.

  13. Oh Roger! I hate to tell you but you have a spelling error in your comment on my blog today! Truly, I’m not kidding. But I’m quite sure you know what it should have been. Actually I think that we good spellers and grammarians have quite a burden. An error just hits me in the eye and I feel so judgemental (which can be spelled with or without an ‘e’, tho’ spell check doesn’t like the ‘e’, and it may be a difference between English and American English). I re-read everything I write — everything, even a shopping list! I’m not so good about punctuation and capital letters, but I try. I know I don’t catch everything on my blog either.
    Great blog.

    • No doubt that’s true, Chris – I never see those until I send, and then it’s too late! It’s also true that I didn’t get a chance to even GET to the computer last night until 9:35 pm, and that’s a recipe for errors.

  14. I’m a grammar cop too and occasionally make the kind of mistakes you mention when in a rush. I’m hardest on myself, but I’ve driven more than a few staff crazy with my corrections. I sometimes wonder, though, how many hours, days, weeks, months… of my precious life I have wasted being OC about my writing…

  15. I get a little irritated with some spellcheckers which keep insisting that I am misspelling certain words when I really just try to keep to British standard rather than American…

  16. The first tip from the NY Times of breaking the mindset is very true. One trick I learned was to enlarge your sheet of text on a photocopier, from A4 to A3. It’s amazing how this allows you see the copy differently.

    Most of my errors are either caused through trying to type too fast so I omit words or simple typos. When I worked in health, I was forever typing hospital as hopsital.

    But if you’re using WordPress, I definitely recommend the After the Deadline plugin.

  17. I mostly do mistakes because I am distracted. I learned recently that there are no sheeps but only sheep I don’t know why several sheep don’t take an s. Because I see cows for example and not a cow for a whole herd ! I also saw that people often mix up angle with angel and that sometimes is very funny when you see the right angel and mean angle.

    • The animal the deer also doesn’t take an S. Fish can go either way, with ES or with nothing. As I’ve noted before, English is weird.

  18. Hildred may be right — we seers of typos are wired for touchiness when it comes to spelling and grammar!!! One tip I have used is reading what I have written backwards, but hurrying always traps me…… as I am sure you have noticed, kind sir Roger!
    A tasty but not testy post!
    HelenMac
    ABC Team

  19. Oh Roger, those are priceless. I was so happy when “spell check” was invented. Been a little slow in commenting the past few weeks, but now back to normal after my gb surgery.

  20. I find myself editing my own blog posts too, though I’m sure I still miss typos more often than not. My son, for a time, had a job editing packaging labels for Target. Guess that means he’s pretty good at grammar and spelling.

  21. I enjoyed reading this. I know the feeling of rereading your blog the next day and finding an egregious error. Very frustrating but I cannot type, which leaves me open to making many errors.

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