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 will be quite obvious, and your word processor or online grammar checker (such as 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 any missing commas. Yet why is this necessary? What is wrong with typing errors? Surely readers will expect them when they are reading an early edition of a book or article?
The short answer is simple: no, readers do not expect to find typing errors when they are reading your content. Spelling and grammatical errors can be extremely harmful to your work, and here’s 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 and defeat the wizard 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, the one which would send me into oblivion, 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.
All too many novels 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 in front of them has been written by a real author who makes real mistakes. While this might 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 enough money during the editing process. 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 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 but not into proofreading. This might cause them to misjudge the rest of your work, which, in turn, can cause them to view it extremely critically (and this 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 incorrectly, they can make a piece of writing difficult to understand. Consider, for example:
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 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 – inbest in a proofreader! That way, you can be sure your writing won’t be overshadowed by those pesky typing errors.