Seeing your own typos

User avatar
KB
Site Admin
Posts: 20827
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:23 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Contact:

Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:21 am Post

Hi,

Okay, I just need reassurance about something, or at least to know I'm brain-damaged for sure. I don't know whether this is just because I'm a faster typer these days and also because I tend to do too much proof-reading on screen rather than on paper, but I find I miss so many typos nowadays. I'm talking about letters missed from words I type, such as "ony" for "only", "on" for "one" and so on. And also extra words that are left over from edits, such as meaning to change "I don't know about everyone else" to "I don't know about you" but ending up with "I don't know about you else" or some such. It seems to take me four or five read-throughs, and still I'm catching stupid errors.

Maybe it's because I'm extra-tired right now with baby number three keeping us awake all night. But I swear I wasn't this bad at missing typos before I walked in front of a London bus four years ago and woke up in an ambulance soaked in my own blood with a Harry Potter-esque scar as a souvenir.

So, tell me: does anyone else here find themselves missing really obvious typos over and over again in their drafts, or is it just me?

It's just me, isn't it?

All the best,
Keith

ma
matt
Posts: 1180
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:35 am

Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:01 am Post

It isn't just you. A guy at work had 500 business cards printed with a product name incorrectly spelt, and couldn't find the problem even after I told him there was a glaring error.

I find I am much better at spotting other people's typos than my own.

da
dafu
Posts: 564
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:33 am
Platform: Mac
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:47 am Post

I don't know whether this is just because I'm a faster typer these days and also because I tend to do too much proof-reading on screen rather than on paper, but I find I miss so many typos nowadays.


It's probably both. But . . . see below.

Maybe it's because I'm extra-tired right now with baby number three keeping us awake all night


This is your prime culprit. There is nothing like sleep-deficit to utterly muck-up your detail brain.

But I swear I wasn't this bad at missing typos before I walked in front of a London bus four years ago and woke up in an ambulance soaked in my own blood with a Harry Potter-esque scar as a souvenir.


Oooh! Harry Potter scar? Spiffing! I won't enquire about your state of mind prior to the bus collision. . . . That concussion probably did rattle your brain cells but I think it's far more likely that sleep deficit and the one-character-off-and-you-crash exhaustion that comes from writing code day-in day-out are the prime contributors. Also, there seem to be periods where things just don't click in some way. Why, I, myself, went through a three-year period where I couldn't make a vinaigrette to save my life. Every single one was a dud. Thankfully, I have returned to the righteous path there at least.

Years ago I worked as a typographer. The fellow who ran things was kindly and precise. Aside from being over 100 WPM his proofreading was mind-boggling. One day, he was standing about 6 feet back from my terminal, glanced over, and said, "You've two spaces, there." As I recall, no babies at the time and no midnight music gigs.

Dave

Ap
Apollo16
Posts: 198
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 7:23 pm

Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:10 am Post

It could also be that you are trying to proofread on a computer screen.

I was a guinea pig for an experiment a friend of mine is running. Many people do not see the screen well and the brain is trained to fill in for it.

Here is what she has found to date. (The testing is still ongoing.) The more people proofread on a screen, the worse they get at it. The theory is that you literally train your brain to fill in more and your brain... being smart... fills in the "correct" version and not the incorrect one. You literally CANNOT see the error.

The version of the test she ran on me was proofing playing cards (i.e. not words and no context). I was supposed to verify that the left part of the screen had the same playing cards as the right and identify "errors". The cards were shown as pictures in one set of tests and as the number 4 plus the symbol heart or Q plus the symbol spade for the second set. I proofed on the screen and then on paper. I was awful on the screen for the number plus symbol version and only marginal for the whole picture playing card. However, I didn't miss a single one in the on paper versions.

I already knew this. I have to kill trees to proofread properly.

This study is going to function as a baseline. In future, she will be teaming up with some engineers and they are going to work on screen technology to try to lower the error rate. The funding is partially DOD (Dept. of Defense) and DOE (Dept. of Energy). The concern here is safety as most nuclear reactor monitoring devices (and weapons systems) now all appear on screens and not old fashioned dials etc. The error rate for monitoring has gone up dramatically now that all the data have been moved to computer screens. Most humans just can't see the screen well enough.

So... are you scared yet?

Fascinating stuff!!

Apollo16

User avatar
AmberV
Posts: 24329
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:30 am
Platform: Mac + Linux
Location: Ourense, Galiza
Contact:

Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:50 am Post

I do this constant, and shudder at the errors I find that in my old posts when I read then again.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

User avatar
vic-k
Posts: 7135
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:23 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: Protesting in the nude, outside ex Red Lion TESCO Store

Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:55 am Post

Whup are typots? :?
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

User avatar
Siren
Posts: 759
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:29 am
Platform: Mac + iOS
Location: U.K.

Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:50 am Post

Not just you, Keith. You're probably just trying to do too much (new baby, other children, Scrivener 2.0 development, customer support, writing, bills to pay, technological developments to absorb and respond to, not enough sleep, forum to keep an eye on...), so your brain is economising where it can.

Do you set aside time for editing/proof-reading your drafts, so that you have no other calls on your attention or thoughts on your mind? Or do you fit it in somehow, in the gaps between lots of other stuff, accompanied by a nagging sensation that you really ought to be doing something more urgently pressing?

If careless editing were caused by bus-induced brain damage, your code would be similarly affected, and you'd never get it to compile. Since Scrivener works beautifully, I'd say that your brain is fine, but your attention-allocation systems might need a bit of a defrag.

Of course, if the problem affects only your "writing" writing, and not all the other written tasks you do, then it might just be our old friend Procrastination playing tricks again. If you never finish the editing, and never iron out the mistakes, then you never really get that novel written...
Literature & Latte support team

ma
matt
Posts: 1180
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:35 am

Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:58 am Post

AmberV wrote:I do this constant, and shudder at the errors I find that in my old posts when I read then again.


Was that deliberate?

User avatar
vic-k
Posts: 7135
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:23 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: Protesting in the nude, outside ex Red Lion TESCO Store

Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:29 am Post

whs whot dibleberate$ :?
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

Hu
Hugh
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 12:05 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: UK

Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:32 am Post

A few random thoughts, Keith:

- age — I've found my ability to spot typos has diminished as I've grown older, possibly related to...

- sight — do you wear spectacles? Bumping up one's prescription can have a dramatic effect on one's typo-catching talents, I've noticed. In fact, I now have a special cheap pair of glasses almost exclusively dedicated to that purpose. But still I fail, because...

- typos are a fact of life, like athlete's foot and bankers. You can screen for them and tackle them and reduce their impact, but you can never get rid of them entirely.

I sometimes have difficulty getting my own name right...

Huge
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

User avatar
vic-k
Posts: 7135
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:23 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: Protesting in the nude, outside ex Red Lion TESCO Store

Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:40 am Post

Two finger typing!
Ten maybe fifteen (on a good day), words a minute!
One eye on the key I`m about to use, the other eye, searching for the next key.!
When I do eventually look at the screen, it`s like a scene from, 'Texas Chain saw Massacre', there`s that much red on it :shock: Typos/crap spelling/two three words joined together.
Typos!! :shock: Schmypos!
civ
P.S. Huge,
typos are a fact of life, like athlete's foot and bankers.

It`s just as well you didn`t screw up on that one :roll:
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

gc
gcr
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:55 pm

Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:00 am Post

Apollo16 wrote:I have to kill trees to proofread properly.


I agree 100% with this. I found out years ago that I could read and reread a magazine article on the screen and it would seem fine; print it out and it is full of glaring errors and poor phrasing. I've not thought too much about why this should be, but it is certainly the case for me.

User avatar
AmberV
Posts: 24329
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:30 am
Platform: Mac + Linux
Location: Ourense, Galiza
Contact:

Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:07 pm Post

matt wrote:Was that deliberate?


I'm bad, but not that bad! ;)


At least I don't think so! :|
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

User avatar
vic-k
Posts: 7135
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:23 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: Protesting in the nude, outside ex Red Lion TESCO Store

Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:13 pm Post

AmberV wrote:I'm bad, but not that bad!
I never even noticed it. :( I think I may take up Macramé or Origami :oops:
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

dr
druid
Posts: 1721
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:29 pm
Platform: Mac, Win + Linux
Location: Princeton NJ, USA

Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:22 am Post

Keith,

Let me introduce you to the best palliative for exhaustion, brain fog, and typos.
It's called a NAP. You should take at least one for every 8-hour period you are up.
Get a sleep mask, go find a quiet quarter somewhere, put on some white noise, and zzzzzz.
Duration can be 20 to 60 minutes. You wake up refreshed, clear, and ready to go on.
Look at that baby. When not raising hell, what is he/she doing? Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Ask Vic. And consult that lovely portrait of his workspace.

Droo