Readers Share Their Funny Errors

Does your worst typo top these?

Mignon Fogarty
Episode #205


Names can be tough because some spellcheckers ignore words that start with capital letters, or if they do check the word, they don't recognize the name and try to substitute something inappropriate.

Pete sent an e-mail to his entire department calling Dr. Morrison Dr. Moron, Gary referred to George Custard instead of George Custer in a news story, and Janet addressed a memo to Virgin instead of Virgil. Finally, Nicole called her friend Jen Hen so often in e-mail messages that it became poor Jen's nickname.

This isn't a name, it's a title, but I think it may be the worst of the batch. Judy worked with a legal secretary who typed “psychotherapist” as psycho the rapist.

Sometimes spellcheck is not your friend.

The Public United

There are two words that came up multiple times in funny stories. First, leaving the “l” out of “public” can cause giggles. Theresa wrote about a handsome young attorney who embarrassed himself over a public offering, and Lisa's director of public relations got called something else. Every teenager in Sara's town got a sports schedule from a mistyped public school, and the best one is on a resume Jonathan received from someone touting his past work in an "l"-less public cleaning area.

The second common errors is typing “united” as untied.” Grace attends a church of untied Methodists (everyone watch out, they're on the loose), and Beth, who is an English teacher, says her students regularly write about the Untied States of America.


Just like Kirby, some other people have chests on the brain. In response to a colleague who had written an e-mail message apologizing for not replying sooner because she had been so busy, Lee responded that he hoped she was less busty today. He sent a hasty follow-up message saying that he was in no way wishing her chest has shrunk.

Helie started an e-mail message to her lovable English teacher "I know you must be busty, but..." Luckily, she caught that error before she sent it, but apparently “busy” is another word we should all approach carefully.


About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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