Five Steps for Spotting Typos in Your Copy

Last week I was interviewed by the Philadelphia Inquirer about techniques to avoid typos:

Here’s the link:

As a follow-up, I put together a five-point plan you may find helpful:

  1. Get another set of eyes, even if it’s the kids or the dog. Then get the cat to make sure the dog wasn’t asleep on the job.
  1. Give it a rest if you can – sleep on it or at least give yourself a break before you hit the send button. Remember, right after you’ve finished something you are mentally involved in it and fatigued; not only will your mind be autocorrecting your mistakes in your head, you’ll be in no shape to spot the mistakes in the first place.
  1. Develop your own techniques to see the trees and not the forest – a method to focus on the words and not the ideas. One way that works for me is to read the copy backward, one word at a time, looking for typos.
  1. Triple check anything that is high-risk, such as a proper name or a word with an irregular spelling, such as ‘restaurateur.” Copy it and paste it into a Google search just to be sure.
  1. Be sure you quadruple check to assure you have put the letter “L” in the word “public.” Wish somebody had given me that advice before I proudly wrote the title page to one of my books. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

For more on this and other writing hints, check out my recent book, Write Like a Pro.


Write Like a Pro Cover

Author: admin

Carl Hausman is Professor of Journalism at Rowan University, the author of several books about media, and a commentator about the role of media and ethics in civic life.

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