Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Does anyone else have trouble with this typo? I find it almost impossible to type the word 'retrospective' without an extra 's' sneaking in at the start there. (I only managed then by deliberately pausing at the moment of habitual temptation.) I don't misspell it in other contexts (e.g. handwriting), just when typing. Damn fingers. Anyway, I ask because I just saw this very typo in a philosophy article I'm reading, which made me wonder how common it is, and if anyone has an explanation for it. (Something to do with priming common r-e-s-t- words, perhaps? The phenomenology is rather stroopy.)

See also: Typing Slips.


  1. Apparently it happens just under 1% if the time in the general population. Of course that includes a bit of spell checking.

  2. Richard,

    I am almost unable to type the word: philosophy, but it must be a common misspelling because Word always auto-corrects it.

  3. I suspect it also has something to do with anticipating the "s" that comes up later in the word.

    I don't think we would type "resturn" instead of "return".

  4. resturn - about .01% of return so say'th Google. ie 100 times less likely

  5. That seems consistent with my conjecture.

    And, even that probably overstates the relative frequency because we're comparing page hits, not word hits.

    "Return" probably occurs multiple times on many of its hits.


Visitors: check my comments policy first.
Non-Blogger users: If the comment form isn't working for you, email me your comment and I can post it on your behalf. (If your comment is too long, first try breaking it into two parts.)