Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pubic speaking???

I read that phrase yesterday in an article title on the eHow web site. They clearly meant to instead say “public speaking.” Pubic is a word too though, so a computer program just for checking spelling will not flag it. A careful human proofreader likely would have found it and fixed it.

A typographical or grammar error in the title of an educational web page (or blog post) already raises multiple questions:

1. Do you not know what you are doing?

2. Do you just not care?

3. In either case, why should I bother to read further?

4. Is your content really so wonderful I should ignore your lack of form?

5. Would I be disappointed if I bought your e-book, CD, or DVD?

6. Should I avoid hiring you?

If I do choose to read further, then I will not be either surprised or upset when I see one error every 1000 to 4000 words (or an error rate of 0.1% to 0.025%). But this week I read a blog post with 10 errors in just 400 words. That is an error rate of 2.5%! Both the horn and flashing red light for my mental bozo alarm went off. That blog did not get added to my RSS reader.

Obvious lack of attention to details suggests sloppy thinking. Most people will never tell you if they are annoyed or even appalled. They just will leave, and you may never get them to return.

Getting absolutely all of the errors out of a book (~100,000 words) is almost impossible. If you don’t believe me, then go to Google, set the options to search in books, and enter the phrase “pubic speaking”. You will find over 100 results!

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