How to Stop Typos Once and For All

Types in a 1920s typewriter

Image via Wikipedia

How do  you feel about typos (especially other people’s typos)?

Do you react angrily?  Are you offended when you see one?

Or appalled that someone could let that happen?

Start with spell-check

Typos were a lot harder to stop in the days when people used actual typewriters. They were harder to cover up too. Now, we have spell-check, which helps, but isn’t perfect. It can’t tell, for example, when a word is spelled correctly, but not the word you really meant (“world” instead of “word”).

Even with spell check, typos can be really hard to find, especially if you’re proofreading your own work. And, they’re notorious for showing up  in posts about spelling, grammar, and typos.  They just sneak in.

More Typo-Fighting Tips

1) Read your work backwards.  You see the individual words more clearly when you’re reading them out of order, because you have to focus on them harder.

2) Let it rest.  Put the article or post aside for a few hours, or overnight.  Read it again later.

3) Phone a friend.  Have someone else look at it.  This is especially important if you’re writing in your second language.  A native speaker will see things you missed.

4) Hire a professional.  Copy editors are worth their weight in gold.  You may not want to pay for a blog post, but it’s worth it for a book or longer article.

If you do spot one, and your inner editor won’t let you keep it to yourself, tell the person nicely (pssst, rogue hyphen in paragraph three).  Or,  pencil the correction in the book.  You’ll feel better.

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