From my younger days, I vividly remember my father and my late grandfather scanning over the newspaper and circling articles with typographical errors, spelling mistakes and grammatical as well. It had become a sort of a religious exercise to discover mistakes in the daily edition. However, it must be said that it was quite a challenge in those days since there were proof readers and copy editors to catch most of the mistakes before they went out in print. I remember being challenged by them to find out the mistake in a given article. I would find one and stop at that. They would help me to discover a half dozen more.
However, nothing compared to finding mistakes in wedding invitations. Forget the abstruse grammatical mistakes, I can clearly remember mistakes ranging from simple spelling mistakes to glaring errors such as addressing the parents as "Mr and Mr" or printing the wrong day of the wedding (with the right date of course!). What used to strike me was that people who would spend lakhs of rupees and 3-6 months on a wedding could not spend 10 minutes to proof read what was going to be read by hundreds of well wishers, not to mention sending out erroneous information. But the same people who enjoyed being pointed out errors in newspapers became angry when mistakes were pointed out on their wedding cards. Was it anger, displeasure, shame or just ill tempered when cornered with their mistake? So I had to be extra careful to be secretive with these invitation cards and not show them to others for the fear of being labeled overly critical and querulous! But we sure did have some rather funny moments at home with these cards.
Fast forward 15 years. Today, with all the latest technology such as online dictionaries, thesauruses, word correction algorithms embedded into email and word, people are making more grammatical and other mistakes than ever. And what is ridiculous is that now they just hide behind the excuse "pardon the typo", typo being short for typographical error. But a typographical error according to Wikipedia is
"...a mistake made in, originally, the manual type-setting (typography) of printed material, or more recently, the typing process. The term includes errors due to mechanical failure or slips of the hand or finger,but usually excludes errors of ignorance, such as spelling errors"!
I really cannot imagine how the online authors and computer users are able to commit a 'typographical error'!
Websites and news articles nowadays hardly have any editorial process in place. Writers do not even read the paragraph once it is typed, before posting it online for mass circulation. But if you really want to have fun, visit any online newspaper and read through the online-only articles. They provide more fun that the stupid news that they report.
[Note: Any 'typographical errors' in this piece are intentional. Please do not point them out to me!
Also, this piece was inspired by reading this article by Joseph Epstein]