Crouching typo, hidden error: 4 mistakes that spell-check won’t catch

From errant letters to factual inaccuracies, some miscues require human intervention.

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Writers and editors have a lot to juggle in making prose presentable: big-picture items like accuracy, clarity, flow and structure, as well as details like grammar, spelling, punctuation and word choice.

Details matter: One wrong word—even a misplaced letter—can change the meaning of a sentence, or make it confusing. This is why editors especially need a keen eye for detail.

One of the regular features that Grammar Monkeys runs on Twitter is “When spell-check won’t help”—sentences that have a wrong word that’s still a word. It’s not flagged by spell-check, but it’s a mistake that throws the whole sentence off—or makes it unintentionally funny. We find a lot of these in copy, and now people tweet them to us as well (thanks to@grammarsnark, @madbeyond and @eatbiztutor for some of the examples below).

These errors fall into several types:

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)

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