Typos are the New Broccoli

by Emily Jasper on March 4, 2010

The other day, a friend asked me to read through her post to see if the tone was consistent. I was very excited that she asked, and as I read, my eye kept going back to one sentence. Hmmm…is that a typo? Do I say anything? She didn’t ask me to proofread her post…hmmm.

I mentioned that the sentence confused me, and she said, “Oh yeah! That was a typo, my bad!”

Whew! I think we both handled that well. Could have totally been embarrassing.

Why do I think that? Well, perhaps it’s because we don’t have many other ways to judge credibility. We assume that when someone announces that they are an expert, we don’t have much way for doubting: they don’t exactly photocopy degrees and post them to their blogs, we judge Amazon.com ratings instead of reading books themselves, and you could be famous in the blogosphere for nothing. When we’re in a position to assume someone is an authority on a topic, we have to hold some kind of standards.

And this is where we bring in Writing Basics 101.

While I may not stick to some of the traditional rules (never starting a sentence with a conjunction), I do know my their, they’re, and there rules. I’m also a fan of the comma-in-a-series rule, even though Associated Press seems to keep changing its mind. And like most people who grew up with it, I’m a slave to spell-check. When I moved my blog over to WordPress, I asked Matt Cheuvront if I could edit comments. Why? Because if there was a major spelling error, I wanted to have the option of correcting it.

Typos and major grammar errors have become the equivalent of the piece of broccoli stuck in your front teeth.

When someone starts with the condescending ranting post, the first thing that’s going to ruin it is a BIG FAT TYPO! If you don’t take a moment to re-read, then edit, and if you catch it later, fix it, you might not care so much about your message. Sure, that’s a leap, but many of us think it. The rant loses steam when you don’t know your you’re from your your.

Not all of us have time when we’re writing in a passionate frenzy to take a couple cool-down minutes to read over the post. Sometimes anger might result in great posts, but the argument should make sense. I know for me, I’m guilty of skipping key sentences because my mind is running faster than my fingers can type. I will write my post, give it a few hours, and double check. I always spot some giant leap I’ve made in my argument that I neglected to type. Got to fix it.

The same goes for spelling and grammar. I’m totally embarrassed when I’m way off, like I still get “hoping” and “hopping” mixed up (the same way people get “scared” and “scarred” mixed up).

So similar to the fly, do we point it out? Is it really that important to a blogger’s presence to spell correctly? To know your grammar rules?

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