We have all experienced times where grammatical and/or spelling errors have completely changed the intended outcome to a situation, and in some instances, in a very dramatic way. Here are a few funny mistakes that you might have noticed in the past:
These did make us laugh and I bet you had a chuckle too! However, grammar can have a huge impact to an expected outcome. It could just be a simple finger-slip on the keyboard – we are all guilty of these typos. Here are a few examples to illustrate the importance of checking spelling/grammar – these ones have gone down in history!
Popeye is a lie! – The character’s obsession with spinach originally came from a false reading of how much iron is contained in spinach. In 1870 a German chemist named Erich von Wolf accidentally printed the decimal point in the wrong place (for the amount of iron found in spinach). Mathematicians saw this reading and thought it was 10x the actual amount! So instead of having 3.5g of iron content… spinach ended up having 35g of iron! People believed this ever since, and the outcome was the spinach eating sailor named Popeye!
Can you imagine not having phone service! – We are all living In a society where looking at your phone first thing in the morning is like reading the newspaper in the 1980’s. But how much do you rely on your phone? Could you handle losing your phone service alongside millions of other people all because of a simple typo?
This happened in 1991 across the USA when over 12 million people across the country completely lost their phone service! The error was the result of a typographical error that occurred in the software that controls the regulated telephone traffic signals. An employee had typed a “6” instead of a “D”, and due to their mistake, telephone companies lost all control of their networks!
On a more serious note, a conversation between a British brigadier and US general led to disaster on a Korean battlefield –this was due to ‘uncommon language’ being exchanged between the two of them (rather than a grammatical or spelling error), however, it demonstrates the importance of checking that your message is fully understood by the recipient. Read more about this fascinating but heartwrenching article here.
Finally, if you are reading this, you a likely to be working in some sort of finance role, or are considering a future in accounting. So, do check out this AAT article: most common writing mistakes accountants make and how to avoid them – you never know how much your typo may affect your current/future role or the wider world!