Do Typos Make You Think Less of a Company?


There’s a great discussion going on over at Alison’s “Ask a Manager” blog: Am I being too nit-picky over an employer’s spelling error?

Alison’s advice is excellent, as usual, and the discussion that ensued brought up interesting points. One question was this: When is spelling/grammar indicative of bad business and when is it not?

As I commented in response, I tend to think a little less of a company, in general, for seemingly not proofreading or editing things that seem so obvious to me. It’s the same for any professional setting, be it a blog, or a sign, or a menu. It doesn’t automatically occur to me that the typo was an innocent mistake.

Perhaps it should. Having aspirations to be a grammarphile without all the know-how makes me very glad that writers have editors. I’m well aware of how the brain can correct words it sees without telling the fingers to do the same.

So I could give the company the benefit of the doubt. It’s not as if companies are single, mindless entities; they’re made up of real people with lots of things to do. A typo or two doesn’t mean the company doesn’t pay excellent attention to other things, such as providing a healthy work environment or good service. And you never know what could be happening. The corporate proofreader could be out sick. The company could be going through a re-org. There could be a Grammar Nazi convention in Vegas. Things like that.

Scads of typos, though, and I doubt I’ll stay on the site long enough to think this far!

In all seriousness, where do you draw the line at waiving typos? What about blogs–do we hold blogs to different standards than corporate websites, and if so, why?

Back to the original discussion, this quote will stay with me: “One thing I’ve noticed is that people who are excellent writers tend to judge others intelligence by how well they write – ignoring all other factors. I’m not sure why this is.” It’s absolutely true. I’ve done it, and I wouldn’t want it done by me, so I’m going to take that mental step back when I feel myself doing it again!

Related: Spelling mistakes ‘cost millions’ in lost online sales

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