Theo Coggin

A blog on communications

Delicious typos and predictive text… Both can be mouthwatering

oie_transparent (13)I am sure typos and predictive text have caused us all a mixture of irritation and embarrassment from time to time. But they can also bring with them mirth and a welcome chuckle.

Whether this case in point which has so amused me today was in fact a typo – or just predictive text – I don’t know. But it was delightful.

Blissfully devoid of television during a sojourn in the mountains, I resorted to online cricket commentary from The Guardian’s Tim de Lisle. My immediate concern was the state of play in the cricket test match at the Oval in London between South Africa and England, and so I missed Tim’s commentary on the third over, watching as I was only for the score. That, in itself, is a lesson in how often we blissfully read over mistakes. But the sharp eye of an unseen follower, somewhere else in the world, Bob O’Hara, picked it up and sent a tweet which said: “Please don’t correct your typo in over 3. The image it gives of international diplomacy is one to savour. @Cricket_Germany”.

That piqued my interest, big time! So I scrolled to the third over to read Tim’s description about Morkel, the South African bowler. It read: “Cook goes forward to cover-drive Morkel for four, then back to tuck him for four more. Textbook stuff. Merkel retorts with a shorter ball, in at the groin; if it hurts, Cook isn’t going to show it…”

Merkel? She of Germany and European Union fame? As Mr O’Hara suggests, the image – and as I would suggest, consequence! – of international diplomacy gets the imagination going. In some cases in which politicians are over-sensitive, such a matter might evoke many varied results.

But a more delicious and captivating typo is hard to imagine.

oie_transparent (14)The lesson for us as communicators: always proofread before publishing!

  • I can’t end this blog without paying tribute to the brilliant way in which Tim de Lisle provides his commentary. It reminds me of the South African radio cricket commentator, the late Charles Fortune, who had a brilliant command of English and a canny ability to take one, unsighted, on to the field of play.
  • Tim’s typo has already led to some witty comments via Twitter, for example, this one from Brian Withington. “Liking the emerging theme of international cricket diplomacy started with your 6th-over reference to the German Chancellor’s mean bowling. One or two others spring to mind – captain May guilty of an overly optimistic early declaration; and that living advert for a political DRS, one Donald Trump (mystery spinner and flat-track bully).”
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