As non sequitur veteran Demitri Martin cheekily writes in “This Is A Book,” “a typo can charge the meaning of everything.”
Susan Andersen realized the truth in this statement earlier this month, when a single misplaced consonant in her new book turned a bedroom scene into bathroom humor.
Typos are far from uncommon, especially with the growing ubiquitousness of independent publishers and self-published e-books. Every day we encounter books, blogs and billboards guilty of to/too confusion or unnecessary quotation marks. Even literary greats have their grammatical guffaws: Fitzgerald lacked spelling skills, Tolstoy omitted necessary words and De Cervantes’ work was sometimes without subject-verb agreement.
As a New York Times column points out, some readers regard errors as beauty marks, “[finding] humanity in orthographic quirks.”
An optimistic outlook, to be sure, but some mistakes are too comical or offensive to admire. Here are a few examples of the worst and most laughable typos of all time:
A recipe calls for "freshly ground black people," rather than "freshly ground black pepper."
"...our vessel was made a legitimate prize, whilst we of her crew were treated with all the fairness and consideration due us as navel prisoners."
"In the weak light of dawn, I tugged on the gown and sleeves I'd discarded like a wonton last night to fall into John's arms."
"Through the cracks in the shutters strange figures peer out at me...old women with shawls, dwarfs, rat-faced pimps, bent Jews, midinettes, bearded idots."
"...harmoniously abandoning themselves to the rhythm of the music -- like two small chips being tossed about on a rough but friendly sea."
"Thou shalt commit adultery."
Front page image: photo illustration based on Flickr photo by Katerha