Proofreading – Knight in dingy armour fights for the cause

“Good spelling is really important, as is always checking your work.”

The person who said this should be listened to. He is, after all, Britain’s Schools Minister, Jim Knight. He urged British pupils to edit and proofread their writing work. And so they damn well should.

Meanwhile, a good case study of the problems that arise when you don’t edit and proofread your own work involves, eh, British Schools Minister Jim Knight.

Mr Knight crafts his own blogs. In February 2009, someone pointed out that these were riddled with errors, including: similiar, pernsioners, maintainence, convicned, curently, reccess, archeaological, receieved and foce (foce?).

Words were missing in many of his mangled sentences:

He wrote about a new road in his Dorset South constituency, saying it had “receieved” planning permission, adding: “It’s great to see work already starting on the route in terms of the archeaological investigations.”

Other examples: “The new diplomas are being taught very successful …”.

When the little problem was pointed out to him, he admitted his sins. He’d an excuse – “I update my own blog and Facebook page, often from my phone when I am on the move. As a result, mistakes do occasionally creep in” – but added: “In the future, I ‘must do better’ and always check my work.”

Within hours, someone was also making retrospective corrections to old blog entries on Mr Knight’s website.

Making money from typos

While typos cost Mr Knight some credibility, Google’s earning an estimated $497 million a year from typos.

Harvard University researchers Tyler Moore and Benjamin Edelman say Google is making millions from the practice of ‘typosquatting’. A typosquatter registers domain names that closely resemble high-traffic websites, but include common misspellings.

For example, a typosquatter might register domain names such as, and People searching for the website might accidentally type in the wrong url, and thus end up on one of the typosquatter’s websites. These websites are usually a collection of lucrative click-thru advertisements.

Children’s websites have been targeted, with the result that Simpsons and Teletubbies variations have led people to porn sites.

Google ends up making money from typosquatting because its network of display ads run on the typo sites, and it gets a cut of the profits.

Posted in Editing, Language, Proofreading, Typos, Words Tagged with: , ,
One comment on “Proofreading – Knight in dingy armour fights for the cause
  1. Cathal says:

    Very interesting blog. Reminds me of an incident in Leeds, north England, whereby people were killed at a bus stop because of wording on a sign. The sign said, ‘Do not cross road while bus is moving’. But ‘while’ in Yorkshire dialect means ‘until’. So, a local would wait until the bus was moving to cross the road…

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