Writer Wednesday: Errors and Typos


There’s a big difference between errors and typos—the first is not knowing the correct from the incorrect, the second is making a simple mistake. How can you tell? Usually, if the incorrect usage is repetitive, that’s an error.

 

Kinda bothers me when people—writers—claim “typos” versus errors. Writing is a craft, one which you should continuously practice with the goal of becoming proficient. It’s very unprofessional to laugh off those errors and claim “oops, typo!”

 

Of course, “there, they’re, and their” are one of the most common, at least insofar as people complain about them, but *there* are a lot of others I see pretty often:

 

Leaving a space between the last word and the end punctuation, especially when using an exclamation mark.

 

Using “to” instead of “too,” as in “to much.” I always want to ask where “Much” is located.

 

This one, however, drives me absolutely insane: when introducing someone, you should NOT say “Here is the website for author, John Smith.” LOSE THAT COMMA! PLEASE! The correct way is “Here is the website for author John Smith.” Go ahead, read them both aloud—not allowed, for heaven’s sake—and be sure to pause at that comma.

 

Yep. There ya go.

 

Now, if you were to say, “. . . here is the website of the author, John Smith,” you’d be okay. “Author” is not a title, not an honorific like “doctor” or “minister” or whatever.

 

Also, don’t say “the Doctor” (unless, you know!), but rather “the doctor;” unless you’re using it as a title, “Dr. Smith.”

 

And finally, as a publisher, don’t send me query letters that capitalize words like “Author,” “Publisher,” and “Book.” You’ll go straight to the rejections folder.

I know I’ve harped on these things before, and I probably will again. But as a writer, have some pride, even in your social media posts. If a reader’s first impression is that you’re ignorant of basic writing, why would he want to buy an entire book full of errors?

3 comments on “Writer Wednesday: Errors and Typos

  1. Where’s Much? That cracked me up. My personal downfall seems to be fingers that move slower than my brain. I can’t tell you how often I’ve typed “that” when I meant “than,” or “in” that should have been “it.” I’m also pretty phenomenal at leaving words out entirely. I’m working on it. 🙂

    Like

  2. authormjlogan says:

    Drives me crazy when I see posts on LinkedIn that ask for advice on how to find freelance writing work. One look at the post and you know why they can’t find any. And then you look at their profile and wonder why they even think they can write.

    Like

  3. MishaBurnett says:

    I find that a lot of people are confused regarding the difference between a word used as a modifier (“author” in “author John Smith”, which serves to distinguish him from “exotic dancer John Smith”) and an appositive phrase (“the author” and “John Smith” are two distinct phrases that refer to the same person.) Commas are nearly always used to separate phrases and very seldom used within a phrase.

    Like

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