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Why Do Typos Happen?

We’ve all been there: you type out that text message, carefully compose that email, or (wink, wink) write that blog article. You give it a quick once over, relying on autocorrect and spellcheck to pick through the gritty details and hit that glorious ‘Send’ button. And that’s when you see it: the dreaded typo. 

 

It’s okay, it happens to the best of us.

 

Typos (including autocorrect errors) account for 40% of messaging mistakes that users experience. So why exactly do we miss typos, and why do editors, proofreaders, copywriters and designers miss them as well, only to catch them when it’s too late to do anything about it?

 

It turns out that there is some psychology to this.

 

Everybody is going to make spelling errors or grammatical mistakes. But just because we make them doesn’t mean we’re being careless, it means we’re focused on the writing at a much higher level than the organization of letters in a word. Our brains simply don’t keep a storehouse of every word stacked away, ready to be called upon. Our brains consider spelling individual words a less-than-important task and instead focuses on complex tasks such as formulating words into clear and concise sentences. 

 

Thinking like this is what allows typos to happen. When we go over our own work, we know what we want to say, so we expect that meaning to be there and it’s quite easy to miss what is absent. We don’t pick up on them because what we read on the screen is competing with what exists in our head.

 

We should all learn to ease up when it comes to the business of typos. They happen; and while calling out other people’s grammar errors has become a favourite internet pastime, keep in mind that we’re all wired the same way and we all make mistkaes.