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I Can’t Be Bothered With Typos

There’s one thing in this world that can make me want to  pull my hair out one day and then crack me up laughing the next. A typo. A simple, potentially disastrous, sometimes harmless, usually bad, always embarrassing, little typo.

As one of the main proofers at Anchor, my eye has been trained to automatically hone in on them. I almost can’t help it. I won’t even be at work, and my typo radar is on high alert. Checking out the grocery ad, “there’s a typo.” Reading the newspaper, “look at that typo.” Scanning the weather alerts across the bottom of the TV, “typo!” Every time I see one, I think a little less of whoever is tied to it.

Not all typos are glaring. In fact, many never get noticed. However, no matter the size, a typo’s impact is never in a positive direction, and if you want to make a good impression, I’d suggest you do everything in your power to avoid them. I do.

I think it’s worth clarifying that the word typo is usually defined as a misspelled word, but it’s much, much more. Those that think spell check is a proper safety net when it comes to typos will be sadly mistaken. A typo can be an inconsistency, like abbreviating a company’s name one time and not the next. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it hinders brand awareness and confuses (and frustrates) readers.

A typo can be a misused word. Have you ever felt the affects of a typo? No, you haven’t, because affect is a verb and effects is the plural noun you want to use. A typo can be a formatting error. Ever see those paragraphs in which the last line only has only one word on it? It’s called an orphan (or a hanger), and yes, it’s definitely a typo.

As you can see a typo is much more than a matter of correct spelling, and it can make you look incredibly silly. Even if it’s one that people find humorous, don’t think for a second that in the back of their minds they’re not questioning your attention to detail. That’s why proofing is so important. At Anchor, we check, double check and triple check everything so that our clients look far from silly. In fact, we send all of our work to professional proofers to quadruple check. It’s not paranoia (well maybe a little), it’s smart business.

Some good news is that, to many people’s surprise, it doesn’t take long to proofread. It’s much quicker to catch a typo up front then it is to go back and fix one in the end. So the lesson here is: Save yourself the time, money, hassle and embarrassment of a typo and check your work. Then have someone else check your work. Finally, double check your work again. Or, simply have Anchor do it for you. We’d be happy to help.

For a quick read, check out this short article on common proofing mistakes.