What is a Typo? - Definition & Examples

What is a Typo? - Definition & Examples
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  • 0:01 Definition of a Typo
  • 1:13 Typos of Common Words
  • 2:04 Duplication, Omission,…
  • 3:00 Atomic Typos
  • 3:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Firestone
Learn what a typo is as well as the various forms of typos that occur. Ever heard of an 'atomic typo'? Probably not, but you'll be able to identify it in your own writing after this lesson!

Definition of a Typo

When was the last time you typed or texted a sentence correctly the first time? Can't remember? Me neither. Short for typographical error, a typo is a mistake made in typed or printed text. Some quick examples are spelling occurrence with one 'c' or 'r,' or spelling 'receive' as 'recieve.' Even if you are an expert in the 'i before e except after c rule,' it's easy to type a word as common as 'sceince' incorrectly. See what we mean?

While computers and smartphones have made our lives easier, they can't fix one basic issue: human error. We still misspell words and mess up punctuation accidentally. In fact, typos happen most often when you're thinking too quickly for your typing fingers to catch up. This may cause you to hit two keys at once, mix up letters, or even type a word you didn't mean to write. The most common typos you'll see are rearranged letters, missing or added letters, repeated words, or missing and incorrect punctuation. Let's run through some examples of all these.

Typos of Common Words

Very often, you'll see typos with common words that people use all the time. It's easy to mess up words like 'the' ('teh') or 'and' (as 'an') since you use them in pretty much every sentence. But, don't beat yourself up; spell-checker will have your back. Spell-check is a computer program that identifies and corrects misspelled words and grammar errors. Most websites and computer software have spell-checking capabilities, so there will generally be a built-in second check for typos in your writing.

You will also find that you mix up letters next to each other on the keyboard constantly. One example is mixing up 'r' and 't.' Can you spot the error in this sentence?

Jenny was really excited to see the 'Nutcracker' baller with her parents.

While that sounds interesting, it probably isn't as elegant as the traditional Nutcracker 'ballet.'

Duplication, Omission, and Punctuation Typos

Some typos occur during the editing process of a text. If you finish writing a sentence then go back to revise it, you may end up including the same word twice. For example, you may come across something like this in a history textbook:

During the the Great Depression, people struggled to make ends meet.

Hey, even book publishers make mistakes sometimes.

Typos of omission occur when you forget a letter in the word. Some examples are missing the 'c' in 'knok,' the second 't' in the word 'beter,' or an 'a' in 'banana.' Let's be honest - there's a lot of them to keep track of.

Other common typos happen with punctuation, mostly with those pesky apostrophes that never seem to be in the right place. For example, can you spot the typo in this sentence?

Its' going to put its bone in it's dog house.

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