Sniffing out those sneaky typos

Sniffing out those sneaky typos

Many spelling misteaks, er, mistakes, are caught by your spell checker. But a spell checker is no help for typos or word usage errors. Think: Did you mean “to,” “too,” or “two?” Should it be “it’s” or “its?”

There’s nothing worse (or more embarrassing) than getting 5,000 copies of your shiny new brochure back from the printer — and discovering (too late) that your phone number has two numbers transposed. Ouch!

Lori, the self-described “Grand Poobah” of Better at English talks about her “pubic” humilation when an embarrassing typo crept into one of her projects.

“Typos can make you look careless at best, ignorant at worst. Modern spell checkers are useful tools, of course, but they don’t catch everything. My spell checker didn’t save me from the unfortunate “pubic incident” because… pubic is a perfectly good word, just incorrectly wielded in this context.”

Lori offers two good suggestions for catching those naughty little typos or word usage errors that creep into everyone’s writing (or typing) now and then. 1) Have someone read your copy slowly, out loud, while you review it for errors. 2) Use text-to-speech software to read it aloud while you review a hard copy. Link.

Here’s another solution I’ve used that can be very effective for certain kinds of errors: read your text backwards. That extracts the spelling of the words from their meaning. That way, your brain is less likely to subconsciously “correct” the typo for you.

What’s your favorite method of finding typos in your work?

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