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Typos don't matter?

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Typos don't matter?

Postby Kay » Mon 3 Nov 2014 17:01 GMT

Here's an article on the BBC website, written by a Financial Times columnist no less, saying that typos don't matter.. She makes a lot of them and so what?

Grrr! Boo! Hiss!

OK, so everyone makes typos sometimes and they don't matter. They're pretty much to be expected on a forum because it's a quick and informal way of communicating and socialising. Not everyone proofreads meticulously.

They also creep into some blog posts and that's OK too, depending on whose blog it is and whether or not the audience minds.

But, they are not OK on a professional piece of work. Hell, that's what editors are for. I wouldn't expect typos to be acceptable on the Financial Times, nor on the BBC for that matter, although I can spot plenty of them every day.

IMO, a professional writer - especially one writing for an esteemed national publication - should not routinely be submitting work with typos. If they do, and their employer accepts that they do then the employer should make sure that the work is edited and corrected properly.

I'm sick of seeing stupid typos on what were previously high quality publications.

Is it just me or do you expect good spelling from these news publications too?
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Postby Graeme » Wed 5 Nov 2014 02:59 GMT

I dislike typos it undermines the intent of the publication and tells me the writer just didn't care enough to check. If they don't care enough to check their work, how about the sources they quote, the businesses they promote and the businesses they trash. It tells me they don't care so why should I take time to read and digest their inedible copy.
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Postby Dave » Wed 5 Nov 2014 08:46 GMT

I think the author had a worthwhile point, but has spoilt it by overstating the case.

It's true that the message may be more important than the medium, so we shouldn't allow flaws in the medium to blind us to the value of the message. But it's also true that the person wanting to communicate the message has a responsibility to ensure that the message can be clearly understood. Typos get in the way of that.

Many errors don't matter. But some do, which is why military signals and diplomatic telegrams used to repeat the word "not" as a matter of course, like this "This mission must not/not proceed" or "...not (not) proceed". An error in transmission (even one over the airwaves in a short-wave transmission) could change "not" into "now".

Besides, as a journalist the author has the luxury of being backed by a sub-editor whose job is to look out for her typos. Most of us don't. So the whole piece comes across as being rather smug.
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