It’s the story of the year for left-leaning political junkies who are also language buffs. The latest Republican-sponsored jobs bill in the House of Representatives includes an important and embarrassing typo. According to Politico
“A version of the bill posted on the House Rules Committee website calls for putting a freeze on significant regulatory actions until the ‘average of monthly employment rates for any quarter … is equal to or less than 6.0 percent.’”
As you can probably imagine, there’s a missing “un” before “employment.”
Democrats said on Wednesday that they won’t OK the easy fix Republicans want so the bill can move forward.
Each side of the aisle is using the issue to take shots at the other.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) quipped to reporters: “I know Republicans read bills. My, my, my how carefully the Republicans read bills.”
Meanwhile, Erica Elliott, spokeswoman for House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, said:
“Unemployment in America has been above 8 percent for 41 straight months. The fact that the Democrats are making a crusade out of a typo shows their lack of commitment to serious debate about how to get this country back on track.”
Indeed, this might be the most politicized typo ever.
So that you can avoid the fate of GOP lawmakers, here are four mistakes that spell-check won’t catch, according to a column from Lisa McClendon that PR Daily published last year
The one-letter-off typo
A single letter can make a big difference.
“The company’s head of new produce development…” (new product)
“The heaving helping of caviar…” (heaping)
“The pops concert, canon launch and fireworks show…” (cannon)
“Moral was low in that office.” (morale)
“A list of businesses that asses the additional charge…” (assess)
The autocorrect typo
When computers suggest corrections or automatically correct words to what they think you mean, they sometimes get it wrong. (This phenomenon has a name: The Cupertino Effect.) Newspapers have had to run corrections for mistakenly calling a columnist a communist and a socialite a socialist, both of which were probably this sort of error.
“The restaurant offers traditional fare severed Japanese-style.” (served)
“The man, a decedent of Austrian immigrants…” (descendant)
“He testified for the prostitution.” (prosecution)
“He has become aquatinted with relatives in Germany.” (acquainted)
“It’s like killing two brides with one stone.” (birds)
The wrong word
These can be homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently) or words that are just commonly confused.
“He stopped to get a drink to cleanse his palette.” (palate)
“He took the reigns as CEO in March.” (reins)
“Baseball-size hell fell on the town.” (hail)
“Get a sneak peak.” (peek)
“Many land owners lease hunting rites to their land.” (rights)
The one-letter-off “facto”
These may be the trickiest, because when you’re looking at writing on the micro level, picking at details, you don’t always think about the big picture.
“Honoring troops killed in the wars in Iran and Afghanistan.” (We may not like Iran, but we’re at war in Iraq.)
“The nation hit its debt limit of $14.3 million in May.” (If only — it’s $14.3 trillion. This is why editors need to be mindful of math, too.)
As using a calculator does not make one an accountant, using spell-check does not make one an editor. Spell-check is a useful tool, but it’s no substitute for careful, conscientious reading.
Read the full column from Lisa McClendon here