A Matter of Typos: Do They Matter?

Recently, on the BBC, Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway caused a bit of a stir. Despite the world in which she works – upmarket journalism for a broadsheet renowned across the globe – Kellaway basically said, ‘Hang on a minute. Typos aren’t a reflection of the quality of writing. We all make mistakes. So don’t get hung up on typos.’

Ok, she didn’t put it quite like that, we’re paraphrasing, but it certainly raises an interesting debate. Do typos actually matter, so long as our point gets across?

Cole Porter was lamenting the lack of great writing way back in 1934, when he sung his classic song ‘Anything Goes.’ ‘Good authors,’ he said, ‘Who once knew better words now only use four letters writing prose…’ And things don’t seem to have got much better these days, with the advent of text-speak, where letters and numbers are used instead of full words – U for you; F8 for fate.

One of the major trends these days is to turn verbs into nouns, and vice versa. The Urban Dictionary, which collates common slang words, calls this ‘verbification’. So, for example, instead of studying science, some might prefer to say ‘’sciencing’ – as in, I’ll be sciencing today. It’s about making language easier, quicker – and in a 24-hour world, people are all about that.

Language is constantly evolving, and one of the best aspects of the English language is just how modular it is. It’s a sponge, grabbing words from pretty much every country and culture, to create one of, if not the, most versatile languages on the planet. We play fast and loose with the rules – that’s how it’s always worked.

But what about typos? A slip of the finger upon a keyboard and suddenly it’s not a case of ‘In God we trust’, but ‘In Dog we trust.’ A forgotten apostrophe can change the writer’s entire meaning in a sentence. But does it matter, if we know – or think we know – what the writer was trying to say?

Well, consider this. If the Prime Minister – it doesn’t matter which one, choose your favourite, or even your least favourite – sent a letter to everyone in the UK. And in it, our PM wrote, ‘I care deeply about Great Brittain.’ What would you think? Probably several different things. You’d think that any PM who can’t spell Britain probably doesn’t care that much about the countries he or she leads. You’d question their professionalism. And you’d think they were a bit thick.

The same goes for companies who don’t offer great, well-written copy on their direct marketing products. It’s just not a message any business wants to send out.

Taking care to craft your copy, and ensuring you proofread it, can make all the difference to what your potential customers think of your company. Here at Direct Letterbox Marketing we’re passionate about making sure you get your voice heard with the right message. So if you’re looking for leaflet distribution and delivery, simply contact us on 0800 028 6353 or email enquiries@directletterboxmarketing.co.uk and find out how we can help.

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