Do Readers Notice Your Typo's?

Me? Typo’s? 

Sorry. We’ve all done it. You might not notice typos in your newsletters, but many of your readers do—guaranteed!

You are not alone. Nearly 400 years ago a “harmless” typo in a 1631 edition of the King James Bible was noticed! Do you see it?

 
Dunham Bible Museum, Houston Baptist University

Dunham Bible Museum, Houston Baptist University

 

“Thou shalt commit adultery.” Hmmm.

Fortunately, only 1000 copies were printed before the error was caught. This edition became known as the Wicked Bible or the Sinners’ Bible. We chuckle today, but King James was not amused! The printers paid a 300£ fine and had their printing license revoked.

How about you? Do you double-check to typo’s in your newsletters? In your emails? Texts?

Sadly, many gospel-workers say typo’s don’t matter. The reader understands a missing word, a mis-placed comma or a mis-spelling. It won’t change the message.

Perhaps, but you are also sending additional messages. When your reader is assaulted with your  grammar mistakes, bad punctuation or mis-spellings she asks:

  • Did you skip grade school?

  • Didn’t you care enough about me to re-read this letter one more time?

  • Are you also this careless in your field ministry?

Sometimes typo’s happen even after careful proofreading. In my newspaper days I committed plenty of typo’s—often in the headlines in big bold type! It happens. But don’t say it is okay!

When you take time to check your spelling, eliminate redundant words, punctuate properly, you honor your readers. You are giving them your best. They won’t compliment you on your clear writing, but they will appreciate it. 

I cannot give examples in other languages or alphabets, but here are three common English language “typo’s” I saw in recent newsletters.

  • This ministry trip has been good for Zelda and I. [Correction: Zelda and me. Objective case after a preposition.]

  •  Please pray for our dicsiple-making ministry. [Correction: disciple-making.]

  • This has been a really busy summer. We are very, very tired and worn-out from the training program and need your prayers and petitions. [Correction: redundant words. This has been a really busy summer. We are very, very tired and worn out from the training program and need your prayers and petitions. 12 words instead of 17.]

Colossians 3:23 is our guide:

 
Whatever you do, do your work heartily,
as for the Lord rather than men.
 

Re-read your newsletter or email draft “heartily!” Work hard to find mis-spellings, bad grammar, bad punctuation, and to eliminate un-needed words. Then read it again. And again! Give it to a friend (who does not have the gift of mercy) and ask them to spot typo’s.

May God blasst you richly; as yu swerve Him in filed ministry.