How to eliminate typing errors, spelling and typing mistakes
We have all been there. Working away confidently on the computer, not focusing on our typing skills. The words are flowing and you don’t want to interrupt your thoughts. Then, at second glance, you find quite a few typing errors in there! You know what word you were looking to type, yet it did not come out that way onto the computer.
This is more common than you think. Here are some reasons why this happens, which words are most common to misspell or mistype, and some tactics you can use to fix common typing mistakes from reoccurring.
Typing Errors or Typos: Why do they happen?
To begin with, both spelling and typing are skills that are developed over time. You probably had spelling tests growing up to work on improving your skills and vocabulary. Have you ever tried a typing software tutor or had to take a class?
If so, typing was probably one of the main focuses. I experienced both of these scenarios growing up, but it wasn’t until I went to college where I dedicated a lot more time to actually typing with proper form.
It’s common. – Even with all of this practice, mistakes and typing errors are bound to happen. I catch myself making these mistakes often. Even when you learn a skill there are still bound to be some errors.
Research studies – Some studies suggest that you learn where the keys are on the keyboard and overtime your brain automatically knows where to find these keys to produce the word you are looking to type. It becomes a process of the unconscious mind.
There are few reasons why we make mistakes from time to time. In an article from Jessica Salter of The Telegraph, she goes on to explain that sometimes spelling mistakes are made because people “know too much”.
“People use their knowledge of words that have phonetically similar spelled endings and also because words are spelt differently from their pronunciation”.
As your skills develop, they start to work the same way the autopilot function works. You may even be able to catch your mistakes as you’re working.
Spotting typing errors – I also came across an interesting experiment on how humans spot errors. Spotting mistakes while typing is crucial but can be a complex task as shown in an experiment by Gordon Logan and Matthew Crump.
When spotting errors we apply two groups of skills. The outer loop is responsible for the language and the word we type. It detects any errors on the screen. The inner loop is responsible for the correct finger and hand movements and types the information received by the inner loop, i.e. a specific word.
According to the experiment, the inner loop operates on an unconscious level and knows when a mistake has been made no matter what appears on the screen (outer loop). Summarized, the two loops depend on different types of feedback and work independently from each other.
How to Fix Typing Errors – 10 Tips
Finger techniques – Those not using correct typing techniques are more likely to do mistakes than those having learned it usually by using a tutor. Each finger will cover only a certain area of the keyboard. This way you can teach your fingers and muscles to remember the exact location of each key and therefore improve accuracy.
Speed vs accuracy – Typing means communication, and we all want to type quick to communicate what we wish to say. We would like to type as fast as we can speak, however we do more mistakes when doing so. Less speed and higher accuracy will improve the quality of your communication.
Erase word – One tip to avoid typos from frequently happening is to completely erase a word that was mistyped. Instead of backspacing up to the point of the error, erase the word. This will force you to retype the word correctly again, hopefully adding this correction into your memory for the next time you go type the word.
Turn on spell checker – Another tip is to utilize your computer’s spell checker but don’t solely rely on it. Spell checkers are great, but don’t always find mistyped errors. You can mistype a word and it might still spell out another word.
Turn off spelling aids – To help become less reliant on the spell checker you can turn this feature off. Turning off the spell checker will encourage you to look up any words you might be unsure of the spelling. At the end of trying to spell each word on your own, turn the spell checker back on. This practice will allow you to work on your skills and still double-check your work at the end.
Practice accuracy – Many tutors that help develop your typing skills have activities build in to improve accuracy but also increase speed. These exercises build a good skill base and focus to avoid the most common typing errors or misspellings.
Proof reading – This seems obvious but it is probably one of the most neglected steps before posting or sending an email, forum post or blog article. Well, often it is urgent to send that message, however, if you have a chance to re-read or proofread then allow yourself anything from one hour to a day. You will not only spot that random typo but also find opportunities to further improve your writing style and language.
Read it to yourself – Another effective way to spot typing errors is to read aloud what you have written. You will literally say any existing misspellings or wrong auto-correct fixes. Alternatively, you may us e a Text-to-Speech program to do so for you.
Format settings – This is more of an aid than a real fix. However, changing the font-size, font-family, color or line-height can help spot and prevent common errors, particularly auto-correct ones.
Challenge yourself – If you have a relaxed approach to typography and accuracy you won’t mind the one or other mistake, and maybe your recipient too. But not always, and the chance to get your job application rejected is more than likely. Set high standards and challenge yourself to always proofread and correct any typing errors.
Most Commonly Misspelled and Mistyped Words
There a many words that are easily and commonly misspelled. The following words are 10 examples from the Oxford Dictionary’s list of the top 100 Most Often Misspelled Words in English:
Table 1: Most often misspelled words in English
Spelling Tips To Avoid Typing Errors
‘I before E except after C’ is probably to most common spelling rule you will stumble upon when searching for tips and tricks. The Oxford Dictionary provides a comprehensive compilation of important rules if you want to extend your knowledge.
In addition, Daily Writing Tips provides a list of the top ten typing errors in business correspondence, what their correct spelling is, and provides tips to help correct this error in the future (Maddox, 2014). They are:
|seperate||separate||There is the word chunk, ‘rat’, in separate.|
|definate||definite||The ending syllable is another word, ‘nite’.|
|calender||calendar||The last syllable is ‘ar’, not ‘er’, which it is usually pronounced as.|
|mispell||misspell||Break it down into smaller parts. Start with ‘spell’ and add the prefix mis- in front to be sure you have all letters.|
|privlege||privilege||Sometimes this word is pronounced as a two-syllable word. Slow down and sound it out to be sure you have all three syllables in your spelling.|
|arguement||argument||Even though the word argue ends in ‘e’, it has to be dropped for the word ‘argument’.|
|concensus||consensus||The meaning of the smaller word ‘sensus’, does not any correlation to the meaning of the word consensus. A spelling trick to remember is SSS: Con-Sen-SuS.|
|pronounciation||pronunciation||Remember the work chunk ‘nun’. It is often confused with ‘ounce’ from the verb pronounce.|
|accomodate||accommodate||The two sets of double letters are often forgot. Remember the two sets: cc and mm in ‘accommodate’.|
|dependant||dependent||Don’t confuse this word spelling with ‘defendant’. The last syllable is ‘ENT’.|
Table 2: Top ten typing errors
Common Typing Errors and Mistakes – Summary
After reading through both of these lists, there are some patterns you may notice about a lot of these commonly misspelled words. Some of the most common errors are endings or whether or not to use a double letter. Suffixes tend to make spelling confusing, so reviewing the different suffixes and their rules can help eliminate some of these common errors.
By now, you also have heard the saying, “i before e, except after c”. This rule works for some words but actually does not apply to all words. This is how a lot of words like “foreign” and “leisure” are often misspelled. Some rules apply, but not always. It will take practice to distinguish between whether or not to follow a general rule.
Overall, a lot of words can be difficult to spell and can be easily mistyped. Even with practice and a strong vocabulary, mistakes will be made. Continuing to practice retyping words that challenge you can help you solidify these words into your memory over time. The English language and its rules are challenging, including spelling patterns. In addition to practice, remembering the rules can be helpful in avoiding these common spelling and typing errors.
Further education: How to Type Faster
What is actually the difference between ‘typo’ and ‘typing error’?
Some readers have asked this question in various forums and it makes sense to cover it here briefly. Both words commonly mean the same. However, ‘Typo’ stands for ‘typographical error’, and it is also less formal. On the other side, some users point out that a “typographical error means an error in terms of typography, which means the style, size and arrangement of the letters in a piece of printing”. Hence, it could have a broader meaning than typing error.
Last but not least, avoiding or fixing common typing errors will always improve the quality of your content. However, it will always happen. There is hardly any book, paper or blog article where you probably cannot find a typo or at least find something controversy. An article published in ‘The Spectator’ covers the story of what is probably the most expensive typing error in history. Thanks for reading. Please share this post if you like it or comment below.
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