Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Biggest Sticklers For Typos Tend To Be 'Jerks'


We got an email this past week from the esteemed standard and practices editor here at NPR. Mark Memmott, could you please read it for us?

MARK MEMMOTT: Sure. The first thing to say is that it's April Fools' Day, not April Fool's Day. And by that I mean put the apostrophe after the S.

SIMON: And so - I hope I always am careful - but there's a study we got this week. And can I read it to you?

MEMMOTT: Please.

SIMON: A new study out at the University of Michigan. They had 83 people read emails that contained typos and/or grammatical errors. And they found that cranky people are more likely to notice misplaced modifiers and, indeed, apostrophes and think those kind of errors are important than, you know, maybe people with real lives do.

Now I said cranky. The word Gizmodo, the tech blog, used was jerks. Any reaction, Mark?

MEMMOTT: Well, I would say perceptive, not cranky.

SIMON: (Laughter).

MEMMOTT: And that these are people who care about language. These are, in many cases, our people, our listeners, our fans. And I get emails from them every day, Scott.

SIMON: Yeah, yeah, and so do I, unfortunately. I mean, so do I, and I'm so grateful for their contribution to...

MEMMOTT: I'm sure you are.

SIMON: ...This community of careful listeners that we have. Thank you, Mark Memmott, standards and practices editor and all around a very good sport. Of course, you can reach him at And they do, don't they?

MEMMOTT: They do. Thank you, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.