Transposing letters and missing words

Karapace

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2024
Messages
127
Location
England, the rough bit
One thing I notice as I get older is a tendency to transpose letters in words. Suchs hte for "the" or beleive for "believe". I usually notice these on re-reading but I also notice that sometimes I miss out entire words form (see did it again, from) a sentence. It's as if my brain skips over them. Hence I give all my work to my wife to proof read but even then some slip through. My last book was read by my wife, by another author friend and a proof reader. Read through it yeasterday and spotted two small errors. I think the gremlins sneak in when you are not looking and change stuff.
It doesn't bother me too much as I can usually spot them on re-reading but I find it interesting how the mind can see what it wants to see and fill in gaps
 
You might find that some of the transposition of words comes from the act of typing, particularly if you're doing it quickly -- it's certainly something that afflicts me when I'm in a rush, as my fingers type (mostly) the right letters, but not necessarily in the right order... ;)

And even books which are published by the big names have some mistakes -- just last night the novel I'm reading at the moment at one point spelled a character's name as "Kay" instead of "Kai" -- and they've been read by author, friends/family, agents, professional editors etc.

One way to help see mistakes of that kind is to temporarily change the font or enlarge the font size when you're doing a proof-reading edit -- there's something about the difference that makes your eyes look at things again.
 
I find it interesting how the mind can see what it wants to see and fill in gaps
I believe it's been shown that a high % of what we "see" is the brain doing just that, all the time, incredible as that seems. And yes, the result is frustrating when you finally spot an error that's been there for several editing passes.

I second TJ's suggestion of changing the format.
 
I am convinced there are a lot of things going on that can lead to strange errors in writing.

One common one is when extra words show up, usually because someone has altered an awkward sounding sentence only to leave parts intact that they meant to disassemble. Or put the correction somewhere other than where it belonged--such as:
[One common one is when extra words show up, usually because someone has altered an awkward sounding sentence only to leave parts intact that had they meant to disassemble.]
or
One common one is extra words showing up, usually because someone has altered an awkward sounding sentence only to leave parts intact that they had meant to disassemble.
[One common one is when is extra words show up, usually because someone has altered an awkward sounding sentence only to leave parts intact that they had meant to disassemble. ]

Often the ends up as teh.

Susurrus is a difficult word to spell and when you get it wrong as in sussurus, it could slip by a pro for any number of reasons.

If you leave the spell checker on and your fingers slip enough you can end up with pretty odd results as it speedily tries to guess what you meant to type.

And, yes; of course, when you read things back--that you wrote--you do tend to read it the way it is supposed to be and not how it is; so it goes uncaught. Other eyes help but not everything gets caught even by those.

Even with a professional edit there can be things that slip through; which is one of the reasons they send it back to you for a final check before everyone signs off on it. And after all of that there can still be problems.

With the pro edit you can complain about that, but the free edits from friends and family not so much.
 
Last edited:
You might find that some of the transposition of words comes from the act of typing, particularly if you're doing it quickly -- it's certainly something that afflicts me when I'm in a rush, as my fingers type (mostly) the right letters, but not necessarily in the right order... ;)
Definitely this. Like trying to run when drunk
 
I am convinced there are a lot of things going on that can lead to strange errors in writing.

One common one is when extra words show up, usually because someone has altered an awkward sounding sentence only to leave parts intact that they meant to disassemble. Or put the correction somewhere other than where it belonged--such as:
[One common one is when extra words show up, usually because someone has altered an awkward sounding sentence only to leave parts intact that had they meant to disassemble.]
This too. I often play around with sentence structure and of course redundant bits get left in.
 
I have this problem due to the two forms of dyslexia I have. My writing can get cattywampus rally fast, so I am always relying on skills that I learned and taught myself to catch these problems. One, that works well for me is when I prof read my work is to read it both forwards and then backwards. I can catch many issues doing this.
 
I have this problem due to the two forms of dyslexia I have. My writing can get cattywampus rally fast, so I am always relying on skills that I learned and taught myself to catch these problems. One, that works well for me is when I prof read my work is to read it both forwards and then backwards. I can catch many issues doing this.
I find reading it out loud to myself helps. Also some writer friends tell me there is some software that translates words into voice (they call it the "really boring voice") because it just translates what is written mistakes are highlighted
 
I always have problems with nessecery neccesery necessery necessary, to the extent that I usually Google it (do you mean...), then copy and paste...
 
I find reading it out loud to myself helps.
Yeah. I remember reading something about this - I think in Stephen King's On Writing. To be honest, I thought it sounded a little bit daft, but then I tried it.

The great thing about it - I found - was that by reading aloud (or reading silently and mouthing the words) I got the cadence and rhythm of the text. To me, it seemed like I was hearing it as a reader would when they read it for the first time.

If the rhythm was off, I heard it. To me, it sounded like that if what I was trying to convey didn't quite hit the mark, the rhythm was all wrong - it didn't flow properly, and sounded confused.
 
I suffer from this a lot and put it down to the timing of typing. One finger reaches the keyboard just slightly ahead of the other giving a 'sequence' error.

It never happens when I'm writing with a pen or pencil.
 
Wierd, teh and necessery neccesary neseccery nessecery nessecary necessary.
 

Similar threads


Back
Top