As a busy marketing agency, we spend a fair amount of time reading blogs, engaging in online conversations and reviewing all kinds of content. We’re used to being surrounded by text every day, yet the number of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and all kinds of crazy formatting that we see never ceases to annoy (or sometimes entertain!) us.

A recent blunder by the Royal Australian Navy provides one such example of how a lack of care and attention for the written word can have embarrassing consequences. Thanks to an enormous oversight, their uniforms are now emblazoned with a badge that misspells the word ‘Australian’ – adding an extra ‘L’. I hope they didn’t pay per letter.

To drive home the point that even a basic error can be embarrassing and irritate your customers, potentially losing you sales, here are the top 5 typos, formatting and grammatical errors that really get under our skin.

  1. You’re and your. Two similar sounding words, two very different meanings. Why can’t people use them in the right context?
  2. Wrongly placed apostrophes. Adding an apostrophe before a final ‘s’ does not turn a word into the plural form.
  3. Using all upper case letters in an online discussion. Listen up all you forum users who type in capitals. YOU LOOK LIKE AN ANGRY PERSON SHOUTING!
  4. Justifying text. How did this ever become a text alignment option? It looks terrible; creating inconsistent spacing and unnecessary hyphens. There’s no justification for justifying text.
  5. Having blind faith in the spell checker. A bank worker I know once posted a cheque to a customer with a letter stating, “please find enclosed your £50 cheese.” Always check the spell checker!

Perhaps you’ve seen an annoying typo recently or maybe you have a funny spell check story to share. You may even have spotted a typo in this very blog post and want to goad me over my incompetence and hypocrisy!

Which typos drive you crazy? Share your comments below.