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Three costly typos in the news in recent weeks


Three costly typos in the news in recent weeks

There’s a school of thought that spelling and grammar are not overly important as long as the meaning of what’s being said is clear. The problem is that seemingly small errors can completely change the meaning of a sentence, and result in serious repercussions in terms of both finance and credibility.

Just within the last month, three slip-ups have caught my attention that, though minor, have led to messy situations for the perpetrators.

1. Newsletter makes a little Britton mistake

When Radio Bristol DJ Emma Britton turned up for a March 12 talk at Felton Village Hall in Somerset, she was surprised to see the venue was packed out. Rather than there being a sudden surge in popularity for local radio breakfast show presenters in the area, it turned out that the large attendance was due to Emma being mistaken for a slightly more widely known star of the morning who shares her surname.

The producers of the village newsletter had accidentally announced that Fern Britton, former co-host of ITV’s ‘This Morning’, would be the day’s speaker.

Fern picked up on Emma’s tweet and expressed sympathy, admitting that she herself is often confused for Radio 2 and Celebrity Juice personality Fearne Cotton.

2. Football League ‘condones’ supporter punching player

Last month’s Birmingham City vs. Aston Villa derby game was marred by a Birmingham fan running onto the pitch to attack Villa captain Jack Grealish. The English Football League (EFL) put out a statement that said all of the right things about the incident, with the exception of one word.

Sports writer Rob Harris noticed that the spokesperson (or someone who had misquoted them) appeared to have mixed up the words ‘condone’ and ‘condemn’, and tweeted a screenshot of the error before the EFL had time to fix it.

In any case, Grealish had the last laugh by scoring the only goal in the game.

3. Typo costs air traveller £300

What is it with airlines and terrible publicity? A Twitter stunt by Ryanair fell flat on its face a couple of weeks ago, but the travel agents who arrange flights aren’t immune to PR gaffes either. In a letter to The Independent, one holidaymaker complained of having to pay £300 to amend a slight mistype of a passenger’s name.

Travel expert Simon Calder replied by saying that by the letter of the law, the agent was probably entitled to do this, but described the practice as ‘unscrupulous’ and recommended using human travel agents rather than online ones.

It all shows that we should be aware of what we type at all times, and have our work checked by a second pair of eyes whenever possible. This is particularly the case online, where embarrassing errors can soon snowball with the help of social media.

John Murray

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