Apparently, there’s a really old edition (1635) of the King James Bible that says “Thou shall commit Adultery”. First off, did you read a “not” into that sentence? That’s such a huge typo and I can only imagine how the publishers felt after it went to print.

how to avoid typos

Similarly, “To be or to be”. That’s how one of the most famous sentences in the English language began in an edition of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Six professional proofreaders failed to catch the mistake. You know it should have been “To be or not to be”

Many times, and as part of their resume, people generally highlight that they have excellent attention to detail. At least I did. But in reality, many of us are really prone to typos. I really disliked proofreading but I realised I had to consciously work on it when someone joked that I might be dyslexic since I often missed out words in my written work.

This happens to a lot of people (especially smart people) because when proofreading, they essentially see what they think they ought to have written and not what they actually wrote.  That’s why it’s easier for your audience to spot your own typo.

Typos are really annoying because even though you’ve spent so much time on your content and substance of your piece, once people notice a typo, it sort of undermines your effort and the work in general.

I still dislike proofreading – but I’m definitely improving, and here are some of the tips that have helped:

1. Avoid multi-tasking: Focusing on one document at a time helps you avoid mistakes. Reduce general distractions as well.

2. Print it out: Essentially, these days we seem to type or write on electronic devices. But reading on paper still proves to be a better way to spot typos.

3. Take a break: It’s advisable to take a bit of time away from the document i.e. 20 mins, before returning to proofread it. For really important documents, you probably want to sleep on it and review a day later.

4. Fresh pair of eyes: If possible, have someone else look through. Or 2 people. Or 3.

5. Read it backwards: If you’ve read through a document a couple of times, you’re likely to miss certain things. Trust me, reading it backwards works.

6. Read it aloud: Ok, if you think reading it backwards is weird, then try reading it aloud. Readout all the punctuation and spaces too!

7. Change the font or layout: This totally works. First off, zoom your document to a larger view, and if possible change the layout. It looks like a fresh document and you’re able to spot typos better. Many times after I’ve published my blog post on my laptop, I read it on my phone and it’s one of the best ways I spot typos.

8. Use Microsoft Word and its features – MS Word (or similar software) provides for some inbuilt spell check and other helpful features. Ensure you’re familiar with this, and that the spell check is in line with what you want – i.e. set to British or American English as appropriate. Nevertheless, do not totally rely on spell check because a word may be correctly spelt but not be the ward you desired. (See what happened there?).

I used to over hit the space bar and so have unnecessary double spaces. I actually laughed when I realised I could use the search box to search for extra double space. Basically Ctrl + F and then hit the space tab twice. All double spaces in the document become highlighted and you can delete the extras.

Do you often make typos? What’s the worst typo you’ve ever made? What’s your sure way of avoiding typos?

Love,

Kachee… xX

pS: If there are any typos in this document, well well. I said I hated proofreading didn’t I? The advice is still valid though, I promise.


read too: Why You Should Choose a Boss and Not a Job and10 Contract Clauses Every Small Business Owner Should Know 


30 COMMENTS

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30 Comments

  1. Motunrayo Shafau

    June 21, 2016 at 07:31

    Haha. So true.. #2 and #3 are my go-tos for proof-reading my work.. For other people, I could just spot errors on the go but never for my work lol.

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      June 22, 2016 at 11:27

      I spot errors on other people’s work so quickly as well! Printing it out is definitely a winner.

      Reply
      • Tayo

        June 30, 2016 at 15:07

        I didn’t know that I enjoy proof reading until after reading this post. It’s fun most times. Thanks for sharing.

        Reply
        • Tayo

          June 30, 2016 at 15:09

          And I’ve been meaning to ask. How do you include the link to your new post in comment spaces without the long long link? Thanks

          Reply
          • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

            June 30, 2016 at 22:11

            You’re welcome Tayo! I use a code which I can email to you. Would you like me to send it?

  2. Sarah Enuwa Audu

    June 21, 2016 at 11:26

    Interesting tips, I get lazy to proof read at times, so I just go to Microsoft word, but it doesn’t always help in correcting the jargons.Princess Audu

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      June 22, 2016 at 07:48

      Yeah! MS Word doesn’t really help that much. Sadly we still have to do a bit of work!

      Reply
  3. Beth Fayemi

    June 21, 2016 at 11:48

    I really love these tips, I’ve made a lot of mistakes when typing because I disliked proof reading. It was after the post was public I realised it, now I proof read a lot.

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      June 22, 2016 at 07:46

      I disliked it so much! But we just have to… Glad you found these helpful! Xx

      Reply
  4. Precious

    June 21, 2016 at 17:07

    Printing it out helps a lot. Typos are easily spotted on paper than on screen.However, for bloggers like us, printing out every post is not practical. There is this app that spots more typos than MS Word. It is called grammarly and can be downloaded for free at grammarly.com. It is a great resource for those who regularly produce content.Thanks for the very essential post, Kachee.Easy yummy salad even for the non-salad lover

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      June 22, 2016 at 11:27

      Oh, totally not – we can’t print every post out. Lool. Ah thanks for that Precious, I’ve seen grammarly pop up on my Facebook, but I didn’t know it was an app. Will keep that in mind! Xx

      Reply
  5. Pamela

    June 21, 2016 at 19:07

    My best is reading aloud, helps me a lot. And MS word too. My biggest typo is using ‘been’ and ‘being’, I constantly have to remind myself what they both mean and sometimes I still misuse them. Hence a fresh pair of eyes does my final proof reading.xx http://www.heelsandabout.com

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      June 22, 2016 at 11:25

      Lucky you that you have a fresh pair of eyes! Yeah, there are words like that which we just often mix -up.

      Reply
  6. Berry Dakara

    June 21, 2016 at 19:09

    How about today I discovered a typo in a cover letter I sent out last week!?www.berrydakara.com

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      June 22, 2016 at 07:45

      Oh gosh! Hopefully it wasn’t too bad and they might not even spot it! 😘

      Reply
  7. Oladeji Olayinka Doyin

    June 21, 2016 at 21:46

    Today I prepared a motion and typed “breached” rather than ” briefed”. I felt terrible when my boss pointed it out. The best typo proof remedy I have developed is to actually print out and check for errors but then my office has a thing against wasting papers😞😞. Thanks for the article. It was worth the read

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      June 22, 2016 at 07:44

      Aww! Printing it out definitely works best. To avoid wasting paper I guess you can print in smaller fonts or split a page in two, and print only after you’ve read through a couple of times. I’m sure the office won’t want error filled documents so they’ll be fine!I guess you’re a lawyer! We can’t help but use a lot of paper! Thanks for dropping a comment!

      Reply
  8. cassandra ikegbune

    June 22, 2016 at 04:28

    I hardly proof read because I do most of my typing tired. loolThe new post I put up today had a typo and I only discovered it because I forced my cousin to read it and he spotted the typo for me. Cassie Daves Blog 5 mistakes that are stopping your blog from growing

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      June 22, 2016 at 11:24

      Hahaha. For blogs and informal stuff, I guess it’s not fatal. But for important documents you should totally proofread!

      Reply
  9. Amakamedia

    June 22, 2016 at 15:46

    This is really one good article. Great job KacheeTee! Reading out loud works for me (sometimes).amakamedia.com

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      June 22, 2016 at 16:49

      Thank you Amaka!!

      Reply
  10. Grace.

    June 22, 2016 at 21:31

    I hate proof reading. Arrgh. Makes my eyes water jo but its still important to proof read esp when its an imprtant document…Epiphany29.comShifts, Prints ‘n’ Greens

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      June 22, 2016 at 21:33

      Not sure anyone loves it tbh! It is oh, CVs and all those important stuff. We have no choice.

      Reply
  11. Esther Imbula

    June 23, 2016 at 23:03

    You are definitely not the only one who hates proofreading, and I make typos all the time but if I see one I immediately correct myself (or others).

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      June 26, 2016 at 14:54

      Absolutely. But sometimes if it’s documentation we are sending out to others, it may be too late to amend, so we need to proof read.

      Reply
  12. KIKELOMO OMOTALADE

    June 24, 2016 at 10:17

    I really love this picture.Dasall

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      June 26, 2016 at 14:53

      Thanks Kike! I felt pretty proud of myself for making the picture to be honest. xx

      Reply
  13. Tamie

    July 3, 2016 at 12:26

    Oh I dislike proof reading. These are great tips!

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      July 4, 2016 at 06:40

      You’re welcome Tamie! Xx

      Reply
  14. yevandy

    June 2, 2017 at 17:44

    linked from your email post cos I wanted to add one more tip… install grammarly.. It works across browsers and applications.

    Reply

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