In life, mistakes happen. This is just as true in the writing world as it is anywhere else. As writers, we’re bound to make a goofy typo from time to time; it’s simply a hazard of the job. Of course, we never intentionally turn anything in that’s sub-par, but mistakes are inevitable sometimes. Since our clients are humans, too, they’ve been known to make an oof once in a while, as well.
It never ceases to amaze me how the smallest typo or misunderstanding can change the entire meaning of a sentence, phrase, or entire project. With this in mind, let’s dive into a few oopses I’ve seen lately.
Lease versus Leave
Not too long ago, I received an assignment for a group of apartments. The title of the assignment indicated that I should talk about what renters need to do when they want to leave an apartment. The brief indicated that I should explain the steps tenants need to take when they’re ready to leave their apartments in a blog that was to be about 800 words.
Fortunately, I’d worked with this client long enough to know that something seemed fishy. As it turns out, the blog was supposed to be about what people need to do when they’re ready to lease an apartment.
One single letter changed the entire meaning of the article. When I switched the “v” to an “s” the target audience was suddenly coming, not going!
Except versus Expect
I’ve certainly been guilty of transposing letters. In fact, when my brain is tired, that seems to be a bad habit of mine. I take solace in knowing I’m not alone, as many writers will tell you the alphabet starts to look the same if we don’t take enough breaks throughout the day.
On one recent occasion, I read a piece that talked about the age-old saying, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” The writer accidentally wrote “expect”, which, ironically, didn’t actually change the meaning of the phrase at all. It simply made it grammatically incorrect.
After all, if there’s nothing certain except death and taxes, it’s fair to say there’s nothing certain; expect death and taxes.
Vets versus Vets
This was one of the more interesting—yet totally innocent—misunderstandings I’ve had in my years as a content writer. I received an assignment, whereby I was to write about the steps vets need to take to ensure their resumes are ready for the workforce. My client asked me to talk about resume pitfalls, interview techniques, and things that would help vets overcome the job-hunting process.
Given the context of the brief, I assumed (without realizing I’d even made an assumption) that my client’s target audience was former military personnel who were ready to enter the civilian workforce after finishing their military assignments.
This was an incorrect assumption. The target audience was, in fact, the other kind of vet—the medical professionals who take care of our beloved fur babies.
The Moral of the Story
It’s incredibly easy to write a typo or not realize a single word can have multiple meanings. In each of the cases above, a simple mistake or misunderstanding altered the entire meaning of the text (or, at least, changed an age-old phrase into a grammatically incorrect accident). It’s important for everybody to remember that nobody causes accidents on purpose—that’s why they’re called accidents! If something looks goofy, reach out to your clients or writers (depending on which side of the process you’re on) to ensure you’re all on the same page.
Do you have a funny typo faux pas that changed the meaning of your assignment altogether? Share your story on our WriterAccess social media pages! If you’re a marketer who’s looking for awesome writers to fulfill your content needs, reach out to the WriterAccess team. You can get started today!
Kristin B is interested in anything that teaches her something new or gives her a different perspective on something she already knew. She’s a self-proclaimed Learn Nerd, which means the world is her educational oyster, and she’s always seeking opportunities to learn from life’s experiences and her clients’ assignments.