Typos have a knack for worming their way into the nooks and crannies of our copy…
🤦And making us feel like we are the worst ever, especially if it’s in a huge brand presentation, an important email or a text to that person you’ve been dying to talk to.
Believed to be a misnomer by some schools of thought, the word “typo” was first used in 1892 as an abbreviation for typographical error.
I can’t blame them though. The alternative is quite a mouth full.
I am certain that we have all let these insidious little nasties go unnoticed at least once. (I was guilty of this just now as I was typing the headline to this post!)
Hence the blatant typo in the image on my socials.
🤔But are these typographical errors really a measure of your skill as a copywriter?
What do you think?
Because of the way our brains are wired (yes, even the strictest grammar nerd), we are predisposed to making errors.
1️⃣We read in groups.
The fancy term for it is ‘semantic priming’.
In a blog post, APA explained it this way, “Semantic priming may occur because the prime [word] partially activates related words or concepts, facilitating their later processing or recognition.” Basically, it’s faster an easier to read groups that are related like ‘cats and dogs’ rather than ‘cats and apricots’.
2️⃣We care more about conveying the message than the grammar of it all.
Starting out, you might have an eagle’s eye out for every error and typo. But as you settle into your writing groove and get the words out, typos are more likely to slip by unnoticed. What’s more, you may miss them after a cursory check because you’re focused on the message and not the words.
“The reason typos get through isn’t because we’re stupid or careless, it’s because what we’re doing is actually very smart”, explains psychologist Tom Stafford, who studies typos of the University of Sheffield in the UK. “When you’re writing, you’re trying to convey meaning. It’s a very high level task,” he said.
3️⃣We are human.
While the pain of noticing a typo you cannot take back is excruciating, you cannot really avoid typos. There is A LOT of ‘noise’ your brain must sift through as you type; from sensory stimuli to the thought of what you will eat for your next meal. You may also have a bit of trouble with the keyboard.
Typos do not mean you’re dumb, just human.
You may not be able to avoid them but you can catch typos as you proofread or get your work proofread by someone else.
What is your take on typos? Connect with me here.