Wednesday, 14 October 2015

I hate typos!

As a former teacher I'm used to proof reading. Without false humility I'm tempted to say I'm pretty good at it, without being overly pedantic in the awful Fowler's Modern English Usage sense. Provided it's someone else's text I'm checking; my own is another story.

The problem, as any writer, great or small, will tell you, is that one tends to read over one's own mistakes. The eye simply glides past, assuming that what you actually wrote is exactly what you meant in your head.

The best method of self-checking is to let a piece lie for a while, to the point where you've almost forgotten what you wrote. You come back to it fresh, and those stupid typos fairly leap off the screen (or the paper, if you're into ancient technologies) at you. Unfortunately the nature of blogging is about hitting the publish button right now - if not sooner.

Thankfully most blog readers are indulgent when it comes to this sort of thing. "Poor old Gavin," they think, "maybe he's been hitting the hooch again." Alas not, I'm too much of a self-control freak not to know my limits.

I'm comforted by the terrible faux pas that pass scrutiny in the online edition of Auckland's pretentious morning newspaper ('Granny Herald' to the initiated), let alone other amateur blogs where passionate citizen journalism overwhelms mere spelling and grammar concerns.

Misery loves company.

Unlike tweets, blog posts can, of course, be corrected. It's a rare thing that the first version of an Otagosh piece remains unaltered. Usually it gets finessed over the next hour - no so much corrected but re-edited. If you're picking this up as v.1.0 on something like Feedly, chances are v.3.9 is already up on the website.

Slight exaggeration, but not by much.

As you've probably guessed, this post is inspired by my latest typo, now scrubbed.

I guess, in the immortal words of somebody called Jarod Kintz, “There are two typos of people in this world: those who can edit and those who can’t.”


  1. "... no so much corrected but re-edited," you write. Did you perhaps mean, "not so much corrected as re-edited?"

  2. How unfair. You should let us see the typo. Maybe we'd be amused. Sometimes I deliberately include a typo for purposes of amusement or just to see if people are paying attention. It certainly worked at Silenced where I posted where an Armstrongist cult was located and posted the name of the wrong city. It was amazing that the leader of the cult came on to publicly correct the 'error' and show his displeasure. It was great. He will never be allowed to be a United minister because he committed adultery on his wife while she was dying of cancer (while he was in the ministry). This had a side benefit of prompting me to check on what other churches of God held to be their position on ministers who commit adultery. The CoG7D minister said, "It depends" -- that there would have to be 'repentance' and the minister might be reinstated. The Seventh Day Church of God told me that it he would be reinstated if he 'repented'. (At this point I wondered about the Scripture that says that a minister should have 'a good report' of those outside the church. Certainly, it is problematic for such cases to reflect positively in the eyes of the general public). My former colleague at work was once a president of a rather large Lutheran congregation and he told me of the case of a Senior Pastor who put a very popular youth minister out of the ministry for four years after he had committed adultery. The point here is that typos (deliberate or not) can sometimes lead to very interesting paths of interest.

    Of course, there is a magazine (Prove All Things) from an Armstrongist group (Church of God In Truth) which has printed typos every issue. No one seems to worry about them. I like to look through the printed copy just for entertainment's sake. My fave: Herbert Armstrong described as "the Pasture General". Mental visions of cow pies erupt, leading to the inevitable caution: Watch where you step. Maybe the magazine should be named "Proof Read All Things".