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Posts tagged ‘proofreading’

Why your brain is your frenemy when it comes to reading and writing

Our brains are capable of doing amazing things, including adapting to typos and duplicate words in text as we read so that we can speed through a document without even noticing the mistakes. Convenient. We see what we expect to see.

But that can be a problem when we’re trying to create a polished manuscript free of typos and glitches. Add to that the fact that the more we read the same piece of text, the closer we are to it and the less likely we are to spot errors.

There’s even an Internet meme (with an element of truth to it) that calls this malady typoglycemia. See for yourself:

“I cdn’uolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg: the phaonmneel pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rseearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Scuh a cdonition is arppoiatrely cllaed Typoglycemia .

“Amzanig huh? Yaeh and you awlyas thguoht slpeling was ipmorantt.”

Go to the Wikipedia typoglycemia page to see the correct text.

So knowing this, how do we bypass our brains when it comes to reviewing text for errors? Read more