Turns out that those beloved few who have followed me for years, from website to website, through all the good and the bad, dealing over and over again with the innumerable typographical errors to which I am prone, have been basking in the glory of a fine mind at work. Rather than just being sloppy and inattentive, the fact is that I have been operating at a very high level :
Typos suck. They are saboteurs, undermining your intent, causing your resume to land in the “pass” pile, or providing sustenance for an army of pedantic critics. Frustratingly, they are usually words you know how to spell, but somehow skimmed over in your rounds of editing. If we are our own harshest critics, why do we miss those annoying little details?
The reason typos get through isn’t because we’re stupid or careless, it’s because what we’re doing is actually very smart, explains psychologist Tom Stafford, who studies typos of the University of Sheffield in the UK. “When you’re writing, you’re trying to convey meaning. It’s a very high level task,” he said.