Ask any writer, and they will tell you that typing errors are an inevitable part of writing. They can occur when you’re typing quickly, desperate to get your ideas out on paper, or simply because you hit the wrong button on the keyboard. Most of the time, your errors are quite obvious, and your word processor or online grammar checker (we recommend Grammarly) will put a clear, red line underneath the mistake. Sometimes, though, your mistakes won’t be picked up by these programmes.
This is where proofreading comes in. An extra pair of eyes can be used to check through your work and root out those accidental typing errors. They can correct your spelling mistakes and point out your missing commas. Yet why is this necessary? What is wrong with typing errors? Surely any reader will expect them when they read an early edition of a book or article?
The short answer is simple: no, readers do not expect typing errors when they are reading your content. Spelling and grammatical errors can be extremely harmful to your work, and this is why.
#1 – They Distract You
The main issue with typing errors is that they can be very distracting. Imagine you are reading an intense fantasy novel and the protagonist is on the verge of defeating a dark, evil wizard. They are just about to administer a final blow when you notice a typing error:
Magnus raised his twisted staff into the air, his eyes fixed on me. He was seconds away from uttering the final incantation when is darted forwards, my knife raised.
Did you spot the typing error? It’s quite obvious, isn’t it? The “is” should be an “I”, but an extra letter has been added, and because “is” is still a word, the writer’s word processor hasn’t drawn attention to it.
I have read quite a number of novels that contain distracting typing errors. They may not occur at the story’s most focal moment, but they are nevertheless distracting. They bring readers out of the story, reminding them that the content before them has been written by a real author who makes real mistakes. Whilst this may not be the biggest problem in the world, it can be very distracting for a reader.
#2 – They Affect How You View the Rest of the Content
Typing errors can make your writing seem unprofessional – particularly if they occur regularly. They can give the impression you haven’t spent a lot of time on your work, or else that you haven’t invested in a decent proofreader. Unfortunately, this can have an adverse effect on how the reader views the rest of your writing.
A lot of readers don’t understand the publishing process. They don’t, for example, realise that proofreading and copyediting are two very different services. As a result, they can see a read a piece of content that is filled with typing errors, and think it has been poorly edited, when, in reality, you might have invested a lot of money into copyediting services. This might cause them to misjudge the rest of your work, which, in turn, can cause them to view it extremely critically (and may even result in negative reviews).
#3 – They Can Be Confusing
There are rare occasions when typing errors can make your writing confusing. Take, for example, “diary” and “dairy”. When these words are spelt wrong, they can make a piece of writing difficult to understand:
I turned back to the diary, my heart pounding in my chest. He was in there, waiting for me, waiting inside my dairy.
It’s quite confusing, isn’t it? The times when typing errors make content really confusing are quite rare, but even small issues can confuse readers enough to distract them from your work. This is a shame, particularly as it is incredibly easy to avoid these errors. Read your work through – thoroughly. Then, read it again. Then, read it again. Or, if you can’t face another proofread – or you think you might still be missing mistakes – invest in a proofreading service! That way, you can be sure that your writing won’t be overshadowed by those pesky typing errors.