Habitual Mistakes? Mary Deal Tells Us All About Them!

Habitual Mistakes


Mary Deal

Any error in writing, no matter how simple, can be jarring to the reader and we need to strive to keep the misspellings from showing up in our work.

Pointing out one of my habitual mistakes may save another person’s writing as well. Often, I find myself making one particular mistake and simply had to find out what was causing it.

I know how to spell. I know how to key and I’m fast at it. However, one same mistake kept showing up in my work. I try to catch them all but see that I miss a few now and then. It’s embarrassing to turn in a manuscript with that kind of error. It’s embarrassing to publish online and have the whole world see it. It’s particularly embarrassing for me since I write about all aspects of writing correctly. What a hoot!

As I became aware of this nemesis of mine, it narrowed down to one particular word habitually showing up in place of another. I studied the way I used the keyboard and then realized the accidental spellings began happening after I bought a new keyboard. Now I was getting somewhere.

I watched my hands as I typed and found what I was doing wrong, I double checked myself and typed sentences over and over with that one word included. Surprise! What I learned was that I probably made this mistake all along because the faster I type one of my fingers doesn’t reach high enough on the keyboard. Instead of typing or my finger falls short and types of.

While the mind does not see these words – of and or – while reading, they are still there and in plain view for anyone keen to editing, whether in actual editing as work or simply editing a story as they read. In my case, my mind did not see the interchange of these words as I edited my own manuscripts, not even when I read them out loud.

As a result, I am left to do a search for both of these words through all the work I produce for public viewing, and that includes my book-length manuscripts as well; at least until I can re-train my keying ability.

Please visit Mary Deal’s website for more wonderful articles like this one: Write Any Genre.

About Mike Angley

Mike Angley is the award-winning author of the Child Finder Trilogy. He retired as a Colonel from the Air Force in 2007 following a 25-year career as a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). He held 13 different assignments throughout the world, among which were five tours as a Commander of various units, to include two Air Force Squadrons and a Wing. He is a seasoned criminal investigator and a counterintelligence and counterterrorism specialist. In his last assignment, he was Commander of OSI Region 8 with responsibility for all of Air Force Space Command. He’s fond of saying, “If it entered or exited Earth’s atmosphere, I had a dog in the fight!”
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