Our Favorite Typos

Writers aren’t perfect. This may not be news to you. But occasionally we read or create typos that stay with us. Some become favorites, prompting smiles and giggles (and maybe embarrassment) for years to come. I asked writers, editors, and agents to share some from their experiences. Here are their favorites:

“I submitted a post called ‘4 Reasons Why Writers Should Clothe Themselves with Humility’ to Edie Melson’s The Write Conversation blog. Speaking from my perspective as a magazine editor, I encouraged writers to accept edits humbly, because growing as a writer involves acknowledging that no one’s writing is perfect and everyone can benefit from an editor looking over their work. I closed the paragraph with this sentence: ‘Every time (an editor points out an error), I have the choice to accept the feedback pridefully or with humbly.’ Let’s just say that when I read my mistake, out there on the blog for all to see, I humbly emailed Edie and asked for a little editing help” (Lori Hatcher, author of Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible).

 “On an article about sharing faith: ‘Jesus was a master soul sinner.’ Yikes. Another time, I left the L out of a subhead on faith healing: ‘Beware of those who make healing the focus of their pubic ministry.’ And a major book publisher left an important NOT out of my chapter on sexual abstinence” (James N. Watkins, www.jameswatkins.com).

“A few years ago, I typed, ‘She might be bleeding internationally.’ Sister, that’s a mighty bad bleed. Let’s make that ‘internally.’ Which I almost just typed as eternally. One day I’m going to write a book titled Lost in Auto-Correct Land Without Her Man!” (Lenora Worth, www.lenoraworth.com).

 “When I was in 8th grade, my father—Paul Belcher— had major lung surgery. Our church community rallied around him with support, including mentioning him in the church prayers. Luckily he has a great sense of humor and laughter is good medicine, because the first Sunday he was well enough to return to worship he was greeted with this note in the bulletin, no doubt the product of spellcheck gone awry: Paul Belched – please pray for strength and stamina to recover” (Courtney Ellis, author of Almost Holy Mama: Life-Giving Spiritual Practices for Weary Parents).

“In my book Unconditional, when one of the young characters (a child) is learning about milking cows, I wrote (something along the lines of) that he wrapped his small fingers around one of the utters, swollen with milk. Of course, it should have been udders. The editor and I got a great kick out of it, especially when I told him that I thought his correction was udderly ridiculous!” (Eva Marie Everson, www.EvaMarieEversonAuthor.com).

“My biggest typo was in an email to a book club which was having me come to speak. Their event was called the Kiss Button Event. When I sent my reply to attend, I typed, ‘I would be honored to speak at the Kiss Butt Event. Never saw it at all. The lady sent me an email back and said, ‘We’ve thought seriously about changing the name of our event but not quite in this direction.’ However, I’ve had more problems with autocorrect than typos, such as a text I sent to a writer. He’d sent me a devotion and I tried to text back, GREAT DEVO KEV. But as soon as I hit send, I saw the autocorrect change things. The text he got was, Great pole dance Kev” (Cindy K. Sproles, www.cindysproles.com).

“Far too often, I fail to proofread my mobile phone and its autotype corrects (somehow it thinks my name is Omar instead of Alan). I recently texted a student: ‘Yogurt class software is now loaded,’ instead of the your it was supposed to read. However, the worst incident occurred when it got my wife’s name wrong. I was in real trouble when Keira asked me, ‘Who is Keri?’ Proofreading saves lives!” (Alan Ehler, author of How to Make Big Decisions Wisely).

“Here are a couple typos I have seen recently: ‘He wanted to leave it all behind and go live on a dessert island.’ (Me too. Lemon meringue please.) And ‘We will share in His great joy when His glory is at least revealed.’ (least or last—either could be correct in the context)” (Nancy Lohr, Journey Forth Books).

“My assistant recently received a less-than-compelling email claiming, ‘My Client has assets valued ($13.700.000.00) domicile in a bank here in, am contacting you to stand as a legal beneficiary for the deceased assets, so that the proceeds of this fund can be paid to you, and money will be shared between both parties.’ Personally, I don’t care to be involved with deceased assets—though $13.700.000.00 ‘domicile’ is almost as impressive as $13.700.000.00 domestic” (Tamela Hancock Murray, www.stevelaube.com).

And “He Who Calls All the Shots” at the Steve Laube Agency cited the opening line of a cover letter accompanying an author’s proposal, which read, “I found your name on the inner net” (Steve Laube, www.stevelaube.com).



22 Responses to Our Favorite Typos

  1. Tuvia Pollack March 11, 2020 at 4:35 am #

    One of the most famous typos ever must be “The adulterous Bible” from 1631 which left out an important “not” in one of the ten commandments…

    There is an entire wikipedia page on “bible errata,” and it’s so easy to get stuck there…

  2. Diana Derringer March 11, 2020 at 4:39 am #

    Love these examples. Thanks for making all of us feel better when we goof.

  3. Loretta Eidson March 11, 2020 at 5:17 am #

    Hahaha! These are funny examples. Autocorrect is notorious for exchanging words that cause embarrassing situations, and it’s usually in an important message where you want perfection. I’ve had my share.

  4. Molly Jo Realy. Yes, REALLY. March 11, 2020 at 5:18 am #

    This is so hilarious yet scary. The worst typo for me is when others—and autocorrect—try to spell my last name.
    Also, as a child, I was often mistaken for a Mary. My (now) favorite mistaken moniker is Mary O’Reilly. From Dr. Jekyll’s laboratory. Uhm, no thank you.

  5. Shirlee Abbott March 11, 2020 at 5:43 am #

    Auto-correct is the devil’s workshop. At least, that’s my excuse.

    • Lisa w. Smith April 26, 2020 at 10:49 am #

      Oh, how funny. It’s nice to know our editors can pull us out of some serious trouble.

  6. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser March 11, 2020 at 6:35 am #

    Bob this is great!

    I turned some of the typos I remember best into a sonnet…I’m not sure the result was worth the effort!

    It was a dark and stormy knight,
    but our hero had his manner gown,
    and Satan laughed in shear delight
    his hair cut like a circus clown.
    Ideas of March had come and gone,
    and Julia Caesar had been darned,
    but the hole had all gone wong,
    thus Chinamen were much alarmed
    by chipsticks’ proliferation
    (utensils all now turned to spinsters?)
    and their nation’s denmarkation
    brought Hamlet to their chili winters,
    while in the parlour, looming fair,
    heroine combed her lone straight hair.

    • Linda Riggs Mayfield March 11, 2020 at 7:45 am #

      Oh, Andrew–you had me grinning already after the first few lines and LOL at the last one. The repeated carryovers are brilliant! Thanks!!! Oh, mercy–autocorrect changed “carryovers” to “caregivers” ?

      • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser March 11, 2020 at 10:14 am #

        Linda, I’m so glad you enjoyed this!

        And I think my wife would agree that repeated caregivers are indeed brilliant.

  7. K. L. Spencer March 11, 2020 at 6:42 am #

    Several years ago, I replied to a group message sent by an old boyfriend using the talk-to-text message feature on my blue tooth while driving in my car.
    He was excited to announce that his daughter had been accepted into Yale Law.
    As I spoke my message, the bluetooth picked up the gospel message playing in the background and sent off this reply; “Congratulations. You must be so proud that the Lord loves young virgins.”

    • Paula Geister March 11, 2020 at 8:30 am #

      My friend uses nothing but talk-to-text and hers are sometimes hilarious.

  8. Roberta Sarver March 11, 2020 at 6:49 am #

    A million thanks for making my day. I love laughing at typos. One of my favorites is the text a person sent to a friend, “Your an idiot.”

  9. Paula Geister March 11, 2020 at 8:27 am #

    As always, a good laugh from Boob Hostetler. I don’t have anything in my writing arsenal that does this so-called “auto correct.” Mine suggests words and I’m the guilty party if I pick the wrong one. Is there something wreck with my machine?

    One of my first paid jobs before I went off to college (journalism, of all things) was proofreader at the local newspaper. Sometimes I proofed the want ads. My co-workers chided me for the time I spent on typos and horrible grammar. “Just the most obvious ones, Paula. We have a deadline.” And – voila! – an editor was born.

    Anyway… I get *this* in replies and see it in posts on social media. “To funny.” I guess that person is off to a land called Funny, but I don’t know why they feel the need to tell us.

    Horrible grammar makes me cringe but I enjoy laughing at typos (unless they’re mine). I find them just to funny.

  10. Shulamit March 11, 2020 at 10:14 am #

    When we lived in Hangzhou, China for a year (while my husband worked on dissertation research) I had many opportunities to wish I could figure out how to offer my services as an English language proof reader.

    My favorite typo was on a wall menu at a tourist eatery near the lake.

    They had a variety of snacks and desserts. One was item was intended to be parfaits.

    My husband and I were standing in line to make our order, and could barely stop giggling the whole time. The menu items were written in three-inch high letters, and that one read:


  11. Shulamit March 11, 2020 at 10:16 am #

    Oh! I tried SO hard to not make a typo in my comment. Guess I was laughing too hard while I wrote.

  12. Lila March 11, 2020 at 11:26 am #

    I’m revising my WIP as we speak with notes from my beta readers. All I can say is, I’m glad to provide them with such a good laugh. 😉 Here is one that I found today and just had to share with y’all:

    “From the looks of complete outrage on the religious leaders’ faces, I knew Jesus had just sealed his face.”

  13. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. March 11, 2020 at 1:03 pm #

    Great examples! My phone insists that I named my younger son Favid, instead of David. One of my students told me that “I don’t need to poof reed.” I guess he thought his writing was prefect.

  14. Len Bailey March 11, 2020 at 2:59 pm #

    This, from a sermon I remember at Moody: “We are therefore under no commendation . . . ”

    This isn’t a typo but a headline missing punctuation, from today’s Chicago Tribune, pg. 9: “Plan for civilian oversight of police stalls at panel” . . . Hay, anyone?

    And from the Daily Herald, “The man was determined to be dead at the scene” (wonder how many time he had to jump in front of the train before he got the job done.)

  15. Jennifer Haynie March 11, 2020 at 5:52 pm #

    Oh, you do not know how badly I needed to smile and giggle tonight. Your post, Bob, brought be from tears to smiles in a hurry (yes, very, very hard week). Keep them coming.

  16. Carol Loewen March 11, 2020 at 6:01 pm #

    Gave me a good laugh on a day I needed it. Thanks!

  17. Martha Rogers March 12, 2020 at 8:51 am #

    Thanks for the good laugh. I love reading typos and bloopers, especially in church bulletins. I do make a lot myself, and it’s usually not because of auto-correct.

  18. sara March 12, 2020 at 1:22 pm #

    thanks for the heads up. Typos are especially a pain for me as a first time writer.

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