Monday, May 21, 2012

When Auto Correct is Bad

Your Brain Reads What It Rights

by Doc Harvard Social Media Doctor
Founder of 42wd Publishing

You read correctly, or did you? You may have read "writes" instead of "rights" but I actually meant rights.

A danger we all face when dealing with words is just how much of what is written is auto-corrected by our brains. For example:

[Collected on the Internet, 2003]

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Source: Can You Raed Tihs? -

As says, it is undetermined if an actual study was ever conducted but the end result is the same, most everyone can read it.

Under normal circumstances this is a pretty great skill to have, especially if you have friends that don't type very well. Being able to read the above gibberish makes internet communication much easier but it's a trap. [ No you won't need a shotgun. ]

We've become so skilled at mentally auto-correcting what we read that we do it all the time. We sit down with our work that we've written, or someone's work we're proof reading, and read on our merry ways through to the next word, sentence, paragraph and so on without realizing we've been auto-correcting. Sure we spot glaring mistakes and hastily correct and for a short time we're aware that we're auto-correcting but then we slip back into it until the next glaring mistake rears its ugly head. To make things worse, especially if it's our own work and we know what we mean, we rewrite what is actually written in such a way as it makes sense to us.

Stopping Our Brain's Auto-Correct

Here's a lovely list to help you stop mentally auto-correcting your work, or if you're reading someone elses:

  1. Read the content more than once
  2. If it's particularly long read it in sections
  3. Slow yourself down when you read
  4. Walk away from it for a while [ a day usually does me good ]
  5. Trust your instincts [ if it feels wrong it probably is ]
  6. Read it out loud to yourself [ you'll be surprised how things sound out loud ]
  7. If you stumble while you're reading it out loud there's something wrong
  8. Read it to someone else [ their reactions will tell you a lot ]
FYI: I caught twelve mistakes just using the first two tips in the above list. This includes the opportunity for rewrites to make this blog post sound better / easier to read.

Remember, mentally auto-correcting your friends posts on Google+ is fine but don't do it for your written creative works.

Do you have any tricks to stop yourself from auto-correcting what you read?

42wd Publishing is a community sourced publishing / ePublishing company that puts creators in direct contact with their consumers. Its goal is to provide opportunities to writers, authors, poets, artist, comic artist and creatives in general that otherwise would not be available to them. 42wd Publishing does this through creative mentoring, collaborative partnerships, marketing and software designed to facilitate the creative, marketing and sales processes. [ Us + You + Creativity = Success ]

Doc Harvard is the founder of 42wd Publishing and a social media doctor. He uses his skills at doctoring up social media to help writers, authors, poets, artist, comic artist and creatives in general to grow their presence and facilitate the creative, marketing and sales of their work. When Doc Harvard isn't working on his own creative works you'll find him down in the trenches with other creatives working to improve opportunities and changing the way the publishing business works.

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