I have a confession to make. Copywriters make typos. Or should that be tpyos? No matter how carefully we check, little errors slip through the net. With the advent of the Typo Eradication Advancement League in the US, it’s clear that many people still care about maintaining high standards of English. And they’re quick to hold people to account if they spot an error in an article or in web content.
Some copywriters try to shrug it off if they get caught out. They figure that their eagle-eyed critics have nothing better to worry about. Yet those same copywriters wouldn’t give a presentation with a stain on their shirt. A typo has the same effect as a stain. It’s all the audience can see. And even when a copywriter tries to bluster their way out of it, if they care about their jobs at all, they’ll still blush.
Copywriters care about the English language even more than most. They can spot errors in other people’s content a mile away. So how come their own copy becomes blotted? It’s quite simple. Copywriters are too close to their own work. They are so immersed in it that they can’t see the errors staring them in the face. If it’s a pet project, they may be so excited by it that they can’t be objective. Sometimes, deadlines can be so tight that they may not have the luxury of checking their work as thoroughly as they’d like. Other times, they may have slotted every apostrophe in the right place, only to find that a printer has inputted the copy incorrectly.
These are good reasons, but in the end, they are excuses. Copywriters put a lot of effort into their content. It’s a shame to have its impact lessened by a careless error. There are tricks copywriters can use which help them achieve the necessary distance from their copy to weed out those pesky typos.
- Read it out loud: This gets rid of most clunky sentence structures.
- Read it twice: Even if you think you’ve spotted all the typos, go again. There are always a few that get away.
- Read it backwards: This is best if you’ve working on a big project that you have a lot invested in. It lets you see each word clearly and errors soon come to light.
- Get someone else to read it: If you have a friend, colleague or family member with a good command of English, they can act as your eyes, because they’re coming to your content with a fresh perspective.
- Good old spellcheck: Still useful for spotting superficial errors.
What do you think of typos? Do they set your teeth on edge? Or is it a case of ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone?’