Book judge bemoans number of published typos

A sports writer and head of a judging panel for an annual book award says the number of misprints and spelling mistakes creeping into publications is increasing.

Graham Sharpe, who read 131 books nominated for this year’s William Hill Sports Book of the Year, says:

“It certainly seems to me that there have been many more evident grammatical and spelling errors than in any other year.”

In a blog post on, Sharpe, who has written several books himself, says he can relate to the nervousness authors feel when they open the published copy of their book and dread noticing a misplaced apostrophe or other error on the opening page, but describes some of the basic misspellings of ordinary words he has seen as a “crime against books” that is as galling for writers as it is for readers.

Another of Sharpe’s bugbears is the regular appearance of the U.S. English -ize suffix in place of the UK -ise, which he describes as an “apparently lost battle”.

Sharpe goes on to question whether the problem is that modern authors are editing their own work and are blind to their own errors, while also mentioning that several experienced and respected editors have left the industry in recent years.

It certainly remains as true as ever that a second pair of eyes is crucial to weeding out mistakes. When we read our own work, we tend to read the words we want to be on the page rather than the ones that are really there. Getting someone else to edit it brings a neutral, fresh perspective to the copy.

As Sharpe’s reaction shows, critics’ and readers’ enjoyment of even the best writing can be ruined by sloppy spelling and grammar, so make sure it doesn’t blight your work. With our Business Blogging for Beginners and Freelance Writing for Business diploma courses, you can get a firm grip of writing that will help you avoid incurring the wrath of even the strictest grammarian.

Categories: Writing

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