I found a very old bottle of Tipex in my desk drawer last week. It still wroked. It got me thinking about mistakes and errors.

According to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in what oredr the ltteers in a word are, the olny iprmoetnt thing is taht the frist and the lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. This is bcuseae the human mnid deos not raed ervey lteter, but the word as a wlohe.

This is called Typoglycemia or Tpygoylmecia. History is fill of mistakes and errors.

The Australian Reserve Bank printed the word ‘responsibility’ on the A$50 note as ‘responsibilty’. Naturally no one owned up to that one.

Dan Quayle decided to improve American education by adding an e to potato. Which reminds me of the American Senator who was asked if he thought apathy or ignorance were rife in American society and he said ‘ I don’t care and I don’t know’.

And talking of things American – how about Donald Trump tweeting in May 2017 ‘Despite the constant negative covfefe’. However, he was brilliantly outclassed by his Press Secretary Sean Spicer saying ‘President Trump knew exactly what he meant’. So that clears that up then.

Whilst we are bashing America, let’s not forget that the Hubble telescope was designed in inches but was prepared in Europe in centimetres. Cost of making that one good was about $50 million.

Let’s get closer to home. Do you always spell and use the words DISCREET and DISCRETE correctly?

A first edition of JK Rowling’s The Philosopher’s Stone misspelled the word philosopher but that uniqueness made a first edition worth £68000 at auction. Not bad eh? Could be wrose.

And can you spell pecinclilin?

There is of course a whole degree subject in the use of inverted commas. It’s normally the result of fruit and veg traders not knowing their pnutcuation from their apsraugs. But their potato’s are the best.

It’s a shame it is.

As was The Charge of the Light Brigade. Quite an easy mistake to make especially after Raglan was convinced we were fighting the French not the Russians.

You will all recall the verbal message in the trenches of WW1 which ended up as ‘Send three and fourpence, we are going to a dance’. Quite clever really as it probably kept a few souls alive for a little longer.

Do you read the Gaurdian as they printed their name once or the Grauniad?

I’m just pleased you read this article as many others wuold not.

So, tnhak you.

Duncan Christie-Miller November 2020