Let’s talk about spelling errors

There are two kinds of people.

People who get worked up about spelling errors and typos. They will say things like ‘it’s comprise, not comprise of‘. They get a rash when you say ‘a whole nother level’ or write ‘experiance’ instead of ‘experience’. And they are ashamed when they misspell my name.

And then there are relaxed people.

I’ve been working for years as a text writer. So most people expect me to be in the first category.

But I’m quite relaxed. And I’m not that interested in spelling errors.

Why not?

In communication, what’s important is that your message reaches your audience, so that they act on it.

If you write ‘pays your taxees via this bank accuont’, and everyone pays, tax authorities have very little reason for concern.

Still, there is one legitimate reason to worry about spelling mistakes.


Ethos – it’s from Aristoteles – is the credibility of the communicator. It influences the attitude with which the audience receives the message.

A spelling error diminishes your credibility. Subconsciously, your audience will think: this person is sloppy, so there may be errors in their data as well.

You don’t want that.

So: in principle, don’t worry if it’s okay to start a sentence with a conjuction (it is!). Or about a spelling mistake in an email to someone you works with everyday. But do worry about your ethos when it really matters.