Deep Thought Thursday: Finding Typoos

Posted on 28 October 2010

Why is finding typos apparently one of the greatest joys humankind can experience?

I’ve noticed it in all sorts of situations, from all kinds of people. Everyone loves to identify, announce, and then congratulate themselves for sniffing out typos.

Once, I had to present a publication design in a meeting (at a long-ago job, not my current one). The content was not yet available, so we were discussing ONLY the design. I copied and pasted a bunch of random text in the right places just to give everyone an idea of what the final product would look like. During my presentation, I announced that this wasn’t the real content. Even so, it took all of five seconds for someone to scream in glee, “I found a typo on page 4!!” I reminded him that the actual words on the page were pointless. “But I found a typo,” he said.

I’ve heard stories from writers who proudly turned over their articles/stories/books/etc. to loved ones, only to hear an almost immediate, “Oh my god, look at that typo on page 12!” This only happens after work has already been published in print and can’t be corrected, of course.

We’ve all been on the receiving end of the typo sleuth’s work, and we’ve also all been the typo sleuth. Finding typos must make us feel smart or savvy or perceptive. Every time we discover one, we can remind ourselves of our secret genius and powers of keen observation. I know I’m glad whenever I find typos at work. (But I have “editor” in my title so I kind of have to.)

While writing this post, I searched Flickr for typo images. I came across a Swedish milk carton labeled “Swedish typo examples,” which excited me to no end even though I had no idea what the typo was. It took me a minute to realize they were using “typo” in a different sense. Whatever. I’m posting it anyway because 1) I wasted time on it and 2) it’s a Swedish milk (mjölk) carton. Enjoy.

What about you — how do you feel when you find a typo? What if it’s in your own work? And what if it’s really embarrassing or ridiculous?

If you find any typos in this post, except of course for the one in the title (see what I did there?) then by all means, point them out and gloat. I won’t mind.

Queeens: Squid Ink
Mjölk: Manuela Hoffmann


5 responses to Deep Thought Thursday: Finding Typoos

  • Averil Dean says:

    I think the finding of typos is our way of bringing one small disordered element of the world back into alignment. We can do nothing about the larger mess, so we’ll take what we can get.

  • Yes, I agree. Maybe that’s why I’m so thrilled to find typos in my novel — it’s something I can correct immediately without stressing over revision choices or consequences.

  • Daniel says:

    When I find a typo that I’ve done, I have this need to correct it. With my current blog that I’m running with, I find myself absolutely torn when I find a typo because by the time it’s found, I’ve usually already printed, signed and mailed off the letter in it’s pre-found typo’d form… so I should respect the typo and leave it so that it’s true to what I wrote, but I’m ashamed at the same time that my faults and errors are publicly displayed, but I can’t go back and edit it because if the recipient sees that I fixed my typo in the off chance that they should find my blog (it’s happened at least twice so far), I can no longer be held as a true consumer if I’m going around doctoring up the things I write after the fact in order to make myself look infallible…

    Argh.

    There was that one time I found a typo in the official version of Microsoft Excel 2007 that I was all proud about…

    http://imgur.com/O8mor.jpg

    If Microsoft can make typos, then I guess that it’s okay for me to make typos.

    • Ha! Yeah, I’d say you need to leave any typos in your sent letters as a matter of principle. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though…and I promise I won’t come around and point them out. I love that you actually included a screencap of the Excel error!

  • Amy says:

    Bad when a design studio, has a typo on their OWN MARKETING VIDEO…woops!

    http://20nine.com/newanimal/new_animal.html

    Make it fun game to see if you can find it!

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