Avoid Ten Typos (Almost) Everybody Makes

Avoid Ten Typos (Almost) Everybody Makes
Being on top of your grammar is a skill that takes years of practice to refine into unthinking craft, but even the most word-minded among us can trip up when it comes how keyboards transpose our thoughts. Blogger Christopher Phin releases his inner copy editor and points out 10 errors one sees everywhere in digital writing, mostly due to not knowing what characters go exactly where. As someone who over-uses the “m-dash” a bit, I was glad to get schooling in the finer points of horizontal lines:

A hyphen … should really only be used when linking words such as ready-made. It shouldn’t even be used mathematically to represent a minus, as there’s a dedicated character for that, too [thanks, Dash Nazi!] . Most other uses mandate an en dash – as here, for example – or when planning meetings from 1-2. Changing fashions mean the the long dash—this one, called an em dash—is rarely seen, but where it is, it’s usual to render it without the spaces on either side or with special hairline spaces instead. THE FIX: alt-hyphen for an en dash, alt-shift-hyphen for the em.

What typos perenially haunt your keystrokes, and how do you keep them at bay? Share the scribe suggestions in the comments.


  • I guess everyone is entitled to their little nitpicks, but most of these seem irrelevant to any but perhaps professional typographers, and the truly anal-retentive.

    Like a true zealot, he does throw in a bit about these being easy to correct on the Mac, but harder on Windows. I opened up Word to try a few of these out, and tada – Microsoft Word actually automatically corrects most of these. So I don’t see what the problem is.

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