Spelling is hard.
Sometimes, autocorrect can be to blame for our spelling mistakes (automatically changing “tornado” into “turkey”, for example). Sometimes it’s a slip of the fingers that we fail to catch before sending it out into the world. And sometimes, we just plain don’t know which letters go where.
Whether proofreading or copyediting, checking for misspelled words is part of the job. Usually Microsoft Word or whatever word program you use will catch it, but not so much if that word is technically a real word – just the wrong one.
Here are five examples of good words gone bad.
#1 – “The importance of pubic schools is not to be underestimated.”
Rather an easy mistake to make, and one I see quite often when editing marketing copy. Remember, “public” has an “l” in it!
#2 – “The sound of the tenor saxophone drifts through the air, bringing a sneeze of peace to those within earshot.”
A real life example, believe it or not. This one I’m not sure how “sense” got turned into “sneeze”, but I blame fast thinking and slow typing.
#3 – “Nothing presents a more focused shit than a white backdrop.”
Another real example. Rather self-explanatory, yes? “Shot” is indeed only one letter off, so it’s (kind of) understandable.
#4 – “Don’t forget to sue shampoo on your hair.”
Very much a slip of the fingers, and one I make all the time. Your brain, being used (not sued) to common words, tends to gloss over them when reading, and does so similarly when typing, especially the faster you are. “Use” is also a pretty short word, and it’s easy to mix the letters around.
#5 – “When you’re working all day, be sure to take a brake every hour.”
Unless you have a legit five-finger discount for your local mechanic’s shop, please don’t steal brakes. A “break”, on the other hand, is usually free (though you may get in trouble for taking too many).
Have you written or proofed any other common (or just downright odd) word mistakes? Share in the comments below!