In a blog post I wrote a few months ago, I spelled the word “vial” as “vile.” A friend sent me a funny message on Facebook that pointed out my mistake. I thanked him and quickly changed the typo. His eagle eyes saved me from embarrassment by my friends and colleagues who rarely have typos in any of their blog posts.
Before you publish your next blog post or send another e-mail, consider these five tips for avoiding typos.
1. Use spell check.
Why not let your computer do double-duty as an editor? Spell check can catch most typos, but it won’t catch everything. You may mean to type “too” but instead type “to” or you confuse hare with hair. In my case, see the intro to this blog post.
2. Read everything you write aloud.
I’m a visual person so hearing mistakes is more challenging than seeing them in black and white. Yet no matter what I write, I read it out loud. First, I get a better idea of how I “sound” in print. If something sounds choppy or doesn’t flow well, I can pick that up right away. Secondly, I get a better idea whether or not what I’ve written makes sense and whether or not I’ve made the point or points I want to make.
3. Get a second opinion.
Ask an associate, colleague or family member to read blog posts or proposals you’ve written and tell him or her to be brutally honest. A pair of fresh eyes can catch mistakes you may have missed or typos you make often, but never realized you make.
4. Put what you write aside for a day and then read it again.
This is advice one of my friends who writes for several magazines shared at a writer’s conference. She said that whenever she goes back to anything she’s written, she finds ways to make the article better. She knows that if she turns in an article soon after she has written it, she’ll cringe after it’s published.
5. Include a disclaimer if you absolutely need it.
If you tend to have a few typos in your e-mails, no matter how much you check them, you can always add a disclaimer to your signature line. A friend of mine uses: “Pardon my typozzzzzz” but he’s never sent an e-mail with even one mistake. With a signature line like that, I always check his e-mails!
No matter how careful you are, at some point you’re going to have one or two typos within something you write. Your goal should be to limit the number of typos you make, but keep in mind that all of us make mistakes. If we didn’t, how would we ever learn anything?
How do you avoid making typos?