Friday 12 February 2010

Typos - Unavoidable, Expected , Annoying?

For the most part I accept that - every so often in a published work of fiction - there are going to be typos. Authors, beta-readers, editors, line-editors, copy editors are only human after all. Every so often a mistake is bound to creep through.

And I'm hardly the queen of grammar and eloquence to be standing on a pedestal casting stones - though I will stand there and mix metaphors. :)

But on some occasions - specifically two - it really does annoy.

1) Getting the name of a character wrong. I don't think anything knocks you out of a story quicker than if characters start talking to another character who isn't currently present or worse who died earlier in the story. There's a moment of uncertainty - What's happening? Have I suddenly switched genres to ghost story? - Followed by the realisation oof what's happening and then having to go back and unravel who is actually saying what.

2) The substitution of a word which sounds the same/similar to the word that the author intended to use, but because it's a real word it's not picked up by spellchecker.

Sometimes the meaning of the sentence is changed very little and you can understand how it wasn't picked up in the editing process. Sometimes however, the meaning of the sentence is changed completely.

For example:-

The famous use of penile (relating to the penis) when it should have been penal (pertaining to or involving punishment). The author was referring to incarceration.

So typos - unexpected, unavoidable. annoying? And have you come across any real humdingers that stick in your memory?


Sayuri said...

The penile/penal thing was a JR Ward book, right? I vaguely remember something along those lines.

It does bother me when it's repeated through a whole book because that is just sloppy work. But if it's one mistake I can forgive it. Magnanimous, that's me..LOL

Renee said...

I remember listening to the BDB audiobook, and being pissed because I thought this was a narrator/produce oversite, not a book problem.

This actually bothers really bugs me in audio quite a lot, but it's not always a typo, but a mispronunciation of words. In either case, sloppy editing/production. It will definitely pull me out of a book. I don't mind if it's a single typo/mispronunciation, but if it keeps happening, then I get bugged.

LesleyW said...

Sayuri - Yep. I'll usually forgive one mistake but not if it's so big that it knocks you out of the story - because why didn't somebody spot it? Multiple small mistakes are just as annoying.

Renee - I haven't really listened to any audiobooks but you'd think at some point somebody would have said - are you sure this means what you think it means?