We live in a world where letters now take seconds to deliver electronically. They can come in the form of emails, texts, IM, or any other format we can imagine and right a code for. Did you catch that? It was the wrong use of the word right. Lately, I’ve been noticing an outstanding growth in the number of these mistakes. It might the incorrect homonym, an incorrect spelling, the wrong tense, the misuse of homophones, or just leaving a word out.
Now there are many excuses for this problem, but the best one is shifting blame to an electronic creature that goes by the name “AutoCorrect.” While I admit that I have fallen pray to this word hunter many times, I also have to confess that if I took an extra minute to reed what I just wrote, I might find the mistakes. So, the blame is still on me.
Why do we make these mistakes in the first place?
How many of us gave the answer because we’re moving too fast and not watching what we’re doing? Or, we’re to lazy to take the time to go back and thoroughly reread what we just rote. That may be true for a lot of people, but it’s not the hole truth.
According to an article by Lindsay Kolowich Cox, its not our fault. She states that most linguistic researchers agree that words are stored in our brain in groups according to the relationship between words. They call the process "word priming." The process of word priming works by association of the words and how they are stored in the brain. Researchers suspect that linked words are actually physically closer to one another among the neurons in the brain, and that related words might be stored together in specific cerebral regions. The words dog and pet are stored nearer to one another unlike coffee and speaker. This makes our recall faster and we have less chance of error.
Lindsay Kolowich Cox sights the example of the words going and to and the phrase I’m going to. Our brain is more accustom to seaing or hearing going and to combined than going and too, and therefore we type the wrong homophone.
I tested this theory in a chapter of my new book. It appears I’m not immune. I found several instances where I made mistakes because my brain was associating commonly paired words. For more details on the study, please follow the link above.
Melissa Lewis Grimm explains that when we read, our mind plays tricks on us. Especially if we are the originator of the righting.
When you are reading your own work or reviewing something you have already looked at several times before, your eyes might read over the sentences, but all you’re really aware of is the points you’re trying to get across instead of the words you’re using to express the meaning.
It’s a process called “Generalization” — your mind’s shortcut for retaining information. While reading, sometimes your brain is on autopilot, and that’s why you miss errors that should otherwise jump out at you.
Melissa talks about the need to hire a proofreader. I don’t think we need to hire a proofreader for text messages or social media with our friends, but if we're writing professionally, it might be worth thinking about.
What’s the more obvious reason we continuously don’t catch our typos?
We have become a world of thumb-writers with a secret goal of seeing how fast we can bang out the words on a tiny screen. This time-oriented craze has brought about an entire new language of abbreviations and symbols to short-cut the use of full sentences. How R U, B4, BTW, and :), have replaced the written word and effectively lowered our ability to spell or choose the correct form of a word.
Now add in that we don’t want to check our work and we have a recipe for mistakes. Two many times we send off an email without checking it for mistakes. Why because their is something else we want to get to and because we very rarely get called on it.
If you’re feeling criticized, that’s not my intention. I’m merely bring to lite that there is both scientific proof and human nature at play here.
How many of you have noticed mistakes throughout this blog? They were intentional.
"Writing is the flow of life through words on a page. We all have this talent to share." Luca DiMatteo