Why You Shouldn't Apologize for Typos
Updated: Jun 14
I find it distinctly heartbreaking anytime I am messaging a new friend and I mention that I love to read or work as a copy editor or teach college composition, and their next message is "Sorry for the typos." And this situation happens a lot.
I hate it for two reasons: 1) I don't care at all about typos (more on this in a moment) and 2) I don't want people afraid to communicate with me.
Typos happen. There is sure to be at least one in this very blog post.
The worst part of it all is that typos--like the much loathed umms and likes of spoken communication--are often a sign of excitement. We are trying to share ideas as quickly as possible because we just can't wait to tell our friends, and our fingers hit the u before the o or autocorrect chose the wrong there, or our fingers skip a word to keep with the thoughts racing in our brain, but we hit send before we notice because we are just too excited.
Or, even worse, typos happen due to some facet of privilege in society: your school didn't cover typing curriculum so your fingers gets tangled on the key board, or you have a visual processing disability and you literally cannot tell when two letters get transposed, or you grew up speaking something besides standardized North American White English, so the grammar rules your boss and teachers expect you to follow fit like a tuxedo that is two sizes too small.
Teaching Intro to College Composition, I met a lot of students who were terrified of writing because they felt like they didn't have a right to write, all because they had typos and spelling mistakes. Tragically, more often than not, they struggled with these errors because no one had shown them how to edit effectively or explained the logic behind grammar rules. My goal in teaching was always to root out that fear, because it blocked their voice and creativity.
So, please don't apologize for your typos. I really do not care. I won't think less of you, that you are careless or uneducated. I care about your ideas and your passion, not your commas. I want you to communicate with me, typos and errors included!
To be clear though: when it comes to things I am looking at to be published, I promise to be on the look out for typos. But I won't judge you for them.