5 Monumental Writing Mistakes

It’s clear why grammar is critically important in communication. Strong writers can change minds, sway hearts, and even redirect the course of history. On the other hand, however, sometimes one tiny writing mistake can have far-reaching consequences.

Mistakes like this are common—from resumes to social media to text messages, they happen every day! That’s why CorrectEnglish, an AI-powered grammar checker for both desktop and mobile, is so useful. It’s the best way for English language learners to learn grammar online, but more than that, it’s the ideal writing assistant for anyone determined to eliminate mistakes in their work.

Whether you’re writing in a corporate, academic, or interpersonal capacity, CorrectEnglish compares your work against over 63,000 grammar rules as you type, offering visual acknowledgement of your mistakes in real time. It even includes a built-in plagiarism checker, ensuring originality from your sentence structure to your metaphors.

Small errors might be easy to ignore in a rough draft, but you can’t afford their presence in your completed writing!

Serving as both amusements and cautionary tales, here are five of the most monumental writing mistakes in recent history.


#1: Australia’s AU$50 Bank Note

In October 2018, Australia printed a new batch of AU$50 bank notes—to the tune of 46 million individual notes. Unfortunately for Australia, every single one of those notes featured a blatant typo.

“The word ‘responsibility’ was printed as ‘responsibilty,’ in the text from a speech given in 1921 by Australia's first female member of Parliament, Edith Cowan. The text reads, ‘It is a great responsibilty [sic] to be the only woman here, and I want to emphasize the necessity which exists for other women being here.’”1

While the Reserve Bank of Australia promised to correct the typo on future notes, the damage was already done. The most widely circulated bank notes in future years will still remind Australians that proper spelling is a great “responsibilty.”

With CorrectEnglish, you can catch common spelling errors—such as confusing “affect” versus “effect”—as soon as they happen.


#2: A Nonsense Word In The Dictionary

If you thought published articles with grammatical errors were embarrassing, imagine if you accidentally added a new word to the English language!

In 1934, a chemistry editor contributed a note to the New International Dictionary’s compilers. The note read, “D or d, cont./density,” meaning that the letter “D,” either uppercase or lowercase, could be used to denote density.

Unfortunately, the chemistry editor made an awkward gaffe.

“Thee spaces were removed between the two letters so that it appeared to read as ‘Dord’ to the editor. Dord was then included in the dictionary, along with its definition, and stayed in place from 1934 until it was detected in 1947.”2

In short, a nonsense word slipped into the dictionary and remained there for thirteen years. The lesson here is clear: Even proper spacing is important in writing!


#3: Fake Prize Money

In 2007, a car dealership in Roswell, New Mexico mailed out 50,000 scratch tickets as part of a plan to boost sales. One of the cards would reveal a $1000 cash prize. The marketing company running the show mistakenly made a typo before going to print with the cards so that every card was a grand-prize winner.

Because the car dealership didn’t have the money to pay out $50 million, they gave every card recipient a $5 Walmart gift certificate. It cost less than $50 million, but the $250,000 in Walmart dollars was much more than the dealership intended to spend.


#4: The Vice President & The Potato

US Vice President Dan Quayle made a spelling error that greatly damaged his reputation. In fact, he was widely mocked for it.

Because of a spelling bee, the nation learned that the vice president didn’t know how to spell “potato.” He corrected a participant and asserted it should be spelled as “potatoe.” Political opponents used the information to discredit him, and many called for his replacement.


#5: 2018 State Of The Union

When President Trump gave his first State of the Union address, some of the tickets featured an egregious typo. The ticket welcomed invitees to the “State Of The Uniom.”

Additionally, the “Visitors’ Gallery” was spelled as “The Visitor’s Gallery” – grammatically, that would mean that the gallery was meant for only one visitor!

The mistake was corrected immediately, and the Agence France-Press redistributed tickets. However, the invitation caused a commotion in the news and on social media.


CorrectEnglish catches spelling and grammar mistakes as you type so you can avoid monumental writing mistakes like those listed here. It works on your browser and on your Apple/Android device to help you fine-tune papers, resumes, emails, social media posts, and more. To learn about CorrectEnglish, visit www.correctenglish.com.


Additional Sources:

  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/mistakes-and-typos-that-caused-disasters-2019-4
  2. https://www.ranker.com/list/unexpected-typo-consequences/nathan-gibson
  3. https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/49935/10-very-costly-typos
  4. https://www.scribendi.com/advice/expensive_grammar_mistake.en.html
  5. https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/4-typo-horror-stories-from-the-workplace

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