The typo fixers

Originally published on Grammar Monkeys on Aug. 8, 2010.

We see typos every day — on signs, on the Web, on shirts, in books. Most of us shake our heads and move on, or snap a picture to post online. But as Benjamin Herson, one of the co-authors of the new book “The Great Typo Hunt,” observes, “a typo that everyone walks past and no one ever corrects signifies a much deeper communication breakdown.”

typoHerson traveled the country with his buddy Jeff Deck in 2008 spotting and attempting to fix all manner of typos, using Sharpies and “elixir of correction” and chalk and markers, even climbing ladders to rearrange letters. Their book chronicles this adventure — quixotic though it might have been — including the federal case that got made out of one of their fixes. It’s a fun and interesting book, with insights into language and culture that go way beyond misplaced apostrophes. An example: One worker was particularly steadfast in her refusal to let them fix an error, telling the pair, “I would rather have a sign spelled incorrectly than a tacky-looking sign.”

Read a full review of the book here.