Skipping words when typing
July 28, 2007 9:22 PM   Subscribe

Why am I skipping words as I type more often lately?

In recent weeks, as I review an e-mail or message board post, I'll discover that I had skipped a word or two along the way without realizing it. It's happened on occasion before, but it seems to be happening with more frequency of late.

I've always attributed it to my mind working faster than my hands, and I'm sure everyone does this to some extent here and there, but I'm curious as to why I seem to do this more often. I'm not sure if I'm just typing more words more frequently, so it's a numbers thing. Or if it's just a mental thing, and if there's any method to eliminate it, short of saying each word out loud as I type.

I seldom have the TV or radio on when on the computer, so I don't think it's a matter of mental distraction. And I haven't found myself becoming more forgetful or scatter-brained in other aspects of my life, although I'm hoping this isn't a symptom of something.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe you're just getting better at catching your mistakes? In that case you're "problem" is actually a good thing. Similarly I seem to have more often caught myself making mistakes like typing "to" instead of "you" and other similar things.

I don't think it's something actually worth worrying about. One day what-I-meant-to-type filters that work will be here and solve this problem.
posted by sevenless at 10:24 PM on July 28, 2007

Have you been getting enough rest? Or sleeping properly? I find that with either of thsoe arnet' ture for me, I ahve a lot of typos if I dont 'pay atetnion.

I'm very tired right now, and deliberately didn't correct anything in that last sentence. I've got extra letters, letters in the wrong place, I typed "with" instead of "when". And the second question was supposed to be "Are you eating properly?"
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:37 PM on July 28, 2007

Aw, you missed the perfect opportunity to ask "Why I skipping words as type more often lately?"

I do the same thing, and it pisses me off. Sometimes I will re-read several times, and then after sending the email (or posting to MeFi) I see the mistake. It's annoying as heck.

For me, I attribute some of it to age, some to stress, some to mental distraction. I know you don't want to say each word out loud as you type, but what I have found helpful is proofreading out loud. (You can whisper of course.) Try not to read phrases or paragraphs, but words.

It might just be a phase, so don't get too worried about it.
posted by The Deej at 11:21 PM on July 28, 2007

Yeah, I seem to have this problem too sometimes, usually when I'm hyper and my hands aren't working fast enough for my mind, or when I'm in a stressful situation.

I find that when I calm down and concentrate on what I'm typing, I usually don't have a problem.

My only solution is to proofread like The Deej suggests.
posted by hadjiboy at 11:44 PM on July 28, 2007

I find I make more typos (leaving out words, using the wrong word, simple typing errors) when it's hot and I'm uncomfortable. Which means that I spend more time correcting my work in July than I do in January.
posted by watsondog at 12:02 AM on July 29, 2007

Deej, it's funny because I quadruple, quintuple-checked my question before I submitted it. No way I was gonna embarrass myself by skipping words in a question about skipping words! It's like when you mock someone for their spelling, and you misspell something as you do it. Happens all the time.

Another problem is when I edit and cut-and-paste, and on review, finding myself not doing it perfectly, and leaving fragments around and such. The thing that bugs me most about all this is more that the person reading it will likely end up confused as a result.

I'm sure the problem is similar to the classic brainteaser where you read a phrase, but don't realize a word is missing until it's pointed out to you, just because you naturally expected that word to be there the whole time.

While I haven't felt mentally sloppy, I actually haven't had much sleep lately, and I haven't eaten all that much. The rest of the day I feel perfectly fine, though. So yeah, the sleep/food thing could be the cause without me feeling like it is. I'll see if things improve.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:43 AM on July 29, 2007

This is a bit strange, but did you recently change your keyboard?

When I started at my workplace, I had this cantankerous Sony Vaio keyboard, and I started missing letters and words because I was typing too fast for it. Rather than "I write to you today to tell you about..." I'd get "I wrto you toto tellyou at..."

WhenI switched keyboards, most of my typos disappeared.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:48 AM on July 29, 2007

Have you recently being typing faster than usual? Or as Katemonkey says, often when I switch from my laptop to a desktop I have to briefly relearn the keyboard to get back up to speed.

Also, are you doing several things are once, thus spreading your concentration too thin? If so, are you under any great deals of stress, of particularly tiredness? Or perhaps you're simply getting old. I still love you, though.
posted by oxford blue at 3:42 AM on July 29, 2007

I get this occassioanlly -- it comes and goes. Same goes with spelling. Every now and then, I forget how to spell.
posted by popcassady at 4:40 AM on July 29, 2007

Years ago, I used the Mac's built-in text-to-speech capability as part of my proofreading routine. I could hear if words were missing or repeated, or if things just didn't sound right. Maybe something like that would be a help.
posted by The Deej at 10:09 AM on July 29, 2007

Seconding keyboard. I do this all the time on bad keyboards; it goes away on good ones. Your fingers are going too slow for your brain.
posted by bonaldi at 12:13 PM on July 29, 2007

Or perhaps you're simply getting old. I still love you, though.

Thank you, I'm glad someone does.

I turn 30 next year, so I hope that's not it. Though like I said, I hoped this wasn't a sign of bigger things. I've been on a new computer for almost two months. I've noticed with new keyboards that I do mistype letters here and there, but the skipping of entire words is something I've noticed much more often in the past couple of weeks. I tend to think it's more of a mental-physical thing than an exclusively physical one. As has been suggested, it could just be a sleep/nutrition/focus thing.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:45 PM on July 29, 2007

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