Typos. They Happen.

So we all know that typos are the worst! Terrible! They eat babies! They are AIDS! Etc, etc.

Typo Google

Even Google knows about typos.

Now that that disclaimer is out there, there are some typos that I secretly love. And those are the ones that (unintentionally) completely change the meaning of the sentence because they end up being a totally different word. Those can be hilarious.

For example, if you accidentally omit the letter “r” in the word pantry, your characters might be searching for cereal in a pair of ladies’ undergarments. Or if you’re not careful with your “i” and “o” on your keyboard, your hero won’t be tying his boat to the dock anytime soon. My all-time favorite accidental typo is when definitely becomes defiantly. It’s much funnier to tell your friends that you will defiantly meet them for wing night. You’ll be there, but there will be all kinds of attitude accompanying it.

These are the most dangerous kind of typos. Not only do they completely take your reader out of the story, but they also are still technically words, so you can’t rely on spell-check to point out your mistakes for you. It pays to have a second pair of eyes review your writing, but if you can’t, one trick is to read your piece backwards, sentence by sentence. It forces you to slow down and really look at what each sentence says on its own rather than in the context of the story.

And that can mean the difference between telling someone to “sit there” or “sit three”.

Have you ever found a typo that completely (and hilariously) changes the meaning of the sentence?

PRACTICE

Let’s have some fun today. Take a three-paragraph practice you wrote earlier, or write something new. Then, make at least three “typos” that change the meaning of the sentence. Last, read the practices of a few other writers and see if you can point out their typos.

The person who points out the most typos wins!

About Liz Bureman

Liz Bureman has a more-than-healthy interest in proper grammatical structure, accurate spelling, and the underappreciated semicolon. When she's not diagramming sentences and reading blogs about how terribly written the Twilight series is, she edits for the Write Practice, causes trouble in Denver, and plays guitar very slowly and poorly. You can follow her on Twitter (@epbure), where she tweets more about music of the mid-90s than writing.

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