Proofreading: Why We Miss Those Annoying Typos


I thought the following article by Nick Stockton was an interesting explanation of why typing errors are growing more numerous in our publications and visual communications like signage. The brain works pretty much the same way it did millions of years ago; we haven’t been writing or typing for a nanosecond compared to hunting, spear-throwing, gathering food and firewood. While we can train our brains to work with our fingers as we type at a keyboard, our instincts are still wired to the survival motherboard of ancient times.

As most people who know me understand, typos really annoy me. It was ingrained in me at a very young age that typos were a sign of ignorance, laziness, or just plain stupidity. As an adult, I understand that those “reasons” are not the case. Typos and other mistakes could result from someone painstakingly editing and re-editing a piece for the benefit of all mankind, only to miss a simple typo because of his attention to the overall message of the piece, not the individual words. Other reasons are dependence on the correction programs in our computers. Reliance on a machine – uh-oh. But most of all, our brains come to expect to see what we want written, and sometimes blind ourselves from seeing what is actually there. 

Enjoy the article.


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