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Typos and Fretting Generally


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Like many of us here, after 4+ years of post-secondary education, I'm a decent editor. I've worked at my school's writing centre, I proof read and edit privately, etc. But sweet Jesus on a bicycle, why am I incapable of finding errors in my own writing?

I revisited my SOP recently and it wasn't a tragic experience, but today I emailed the head of the department for a program I haven't yet heard from, and when I reread my response I found a random "and" in the middle of a sentence! Just sitting there, minding its own business, not contributing to the grammaticality or sense of my sentence whatsoever. I know people make typos all the time and we're only human but seriously? I wrote over 50 emails today (oh, work) and I had to make a typo in that one?

Can we just commiserate for a second about silly typos? I'm so embarrassed even though she probably didn't either notice or care. BUT WHAT IF SHE DID?

*kermit flail*

Then we can talk about how this process has me freaking out over a typo, and how that's probably unnecessary and unhealthy. Sigh.

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An anecdote to calm your Kermit flailing before you injure yourself :P :

One of the schools I was accepted to asks (demands? forces?) all of the faculty in a given field to get in touch with their prospectives via phone or e-mail after acceptances have gone out. This practice is, I assume, designed to pump up the prospective students' egos, entice them to attend the recruitment visit, make themselves available for questions, and otherwise assist with the recruitment process (it's all horribly flattering...until you get the fourth profusely complimentary e-mail and realize that this is clearly a departmental directive, and not a sign of your inherent brilliance).

Anywho, the third such letter I received from this program (and from a Prof who I am utterly enamoured with, intellectually) bore the subject line "[Name of Institution], Congrtaulatons!"

Shock! Horror! Brilliant Professors make typos, too! :blink:

I, for one, was thrilled to discover this. In my e-mailed reply, I did the kind-hearted thing and corrected his mistake in the subject line of my reply...but I will always have the original message as proof that no one is infallible, even in academia. I imagine this may come in handy at various points during the next 6 years... ;)

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Oh man Dorinda that made me chuckle, if only cause I've caught myself misspelling that word dozens of times. What a relief to know academic rock stars also make very silly typos!

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I was just looking over my writing sample yesterday and found I was missing an "and" in a sentence. I was absolutely horrified. I read through that paper at least twenty times before submitting it, but of course our minds tend to insert words that we know belong in a sentence, especially when it's our own writing. I also emailed the DGS of the only program to which I've been semi-accepted (rejected for PhD, but invited into terminal MA) and ended my correspondence with "I'm looking forward to hearing from." Yep, that's right, just looking forward to hearing from....someone? I forgot the "you"! Geez, am I embarrassed.

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This wasn't a typo, but in one of my SoPs, I mentioned that I wanted to work with a faculty member who, I found out much later, was only a lecturer. Yup--not even a full time faculty member. In fact, he's a full time faculty at a different school, but sometimes offers lectures at school X.*

Needless to say I was rejected <_<

*WHY DO THEY HAVE HIM LISTED ON THE FACULTY PAGE????!!?!!! :angry: :angry: :angry: ???!!!

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This wasn't a typo, but in one of my SoPs, I mentioned that I wanted to work with a faculty member who, I found out much later, was only a lecturer. Yup--not even a full time faculty member. In fact, he's a full time faculty at a different school, but sometimes offers lectures at school X.*

Needless to say I was rejected <_<

*WHY DO THEY HAVE HIM LISTED ON THE FACULTY PAGE????!!?!!! :angry: :angry: :angry: ???!!!

I incorrectly attributed a book to a faculty member at Maryland who *ahem* did not write it. I could've sworn he had, and then I pulled it off my bookshelf like a week later and went, "Whoops." So, definitely not surprised I didn't get in there.

I also put "App ID Number:" in the letterhead of some of my SoPs thinking it would be beneficial to them in sorting and organizing my file. About halfway through submitting them that way, I realized that it was probably a totally pointless move and stopped. I bet at least a couple of them were like, "What? Why is this here?"

Oh, I also remember one unnecessary comma in my writing sample, but no typos otherwise. I read it out loud like 5 f-ing times. I knew there was no way.

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How about damn punctuation? I've read thousands of pages where literary characters have conversed in text. You'd think I'd know better. No, you're wrong. Found punctuation mistakes in my writing sample and SOP.

"Those apples", instead of "Those apples ,"

What was I thinking? Still, yet to find an answer. Perhaps, I was on a subconscious, implosive rage against punctuation and its rules. I can only rationalize so much.

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How about damn punctuation? I've read thousands of pages where literary characters have conversed in text. You'd think I'd know better. No, you're wrong. Found punctuation mistakes in my writing sample and SOP.

"Those apples", instead of "Those apples ,"

What was I thinking? Still, yet to find an answer. Perhaps, I was on a subconscious, implosive rage against punctuation and its rules. I can only rationalize so much.

I think the way you did it actually reflects European punctuation style though. Am I right on this? Don't they put the punctuation outside the quotes sometimes?

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The American style is to place all punctuation inside the quotation marks, unless the quotes contain a number or a letter. For example:

Place your items in bin "A".

The other exception is when you are asking a question about a quote, but the quote itself is not the question. For example:

Do you agree with the saying, "All's fair in love and war"?

I'm pretty sure that, according to American style guidelines, commas will always be inside the quotation marks. But I think TripWillis is right that European style guidelines tell you to put the comma where it makes sense to put it.

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On the plane to visit Arizona State, I realized I had written a paragraph in my SOP about why I wanted to attend the University of Arizona (which is especially strange considering I didn't even apply to the University of Arizona). All of those times looking over my SOP and I somehow never caught that. In the end they still accepted me, so no harm done I suppose, but I certainly felt mortified.

antecedant: I love the Kermit reference :)

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Every time I was accepted to a program I reread my SOP to try and remember what I wrote about the school, fit, etc. For UNCG, I apparently thought "UNC Greensboto" was a great place to continue by academic career. And for FSU, I "explroed" the issues... I think adcoms realize we are humans and make mistakes.

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Really, don't worry about typos. I had two writing samples--one that I was using for MA programs and one that I was using for PhD programs--and due to copying and pasting I left the name of the wrong sample in for 5 of my PhD applications. I got into Cornell and Rutgers regardless (and Chicago MA). I also found some small typos in my sample (stuff like "an" instead of "and"). Doesn't matter.

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If I accept OSU's offer, I'll have to do some paper work. Protip: Do not write today's date in the field for date of birth. Will they reject me when they discover I am in fact not a scholarly infant prodigy? How long must I live this lie?

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If I accept OSU's offer, I'll have to do some paper work. Protip: Do not write today's date in the field for date of birth. Will they reject me when they discover I am in fact not a scholarly infant prodigy? How long must I live this lie?

Ha! For one of my apps, I put 1997 as my year of birth instead of 1987. Yep, I'm a 14 year old genius / 24 year old moron.

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Really, don't worry about typos. I had two writing samples--one that I was using for MA programs and one that I was using for PhD programs--and due to copying and pasting I left the name of the wrong sample in for 5 of my PhD applications. I got into Cornell and Rutgers regardless (and Chicago MA). I also found some small typos in my sample (stuff like "an" instead of "and"). Doesn't matter.

Thank god. Because my "last hope" school, from whom I haven't heard yet, read a nice SOP typo in my application. I've been beating myself up about it...boo. However, the same typo occurred in both SOPs to schools I've had more positive feedback from (the acceptance and the waitlist), and yet WASN'T in my SOPs to the schools from which I was rejected. Go figure!

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Note to self: don't send emails past 9pm. A professor from a program sent me a recruitment email, and I addressed him as "Dr. Lewis" when Lewis is actually his first name. Note to self: don't send apologetic emails immediately after the fact as he is probably used to this and may not have even noticed it. DOH.

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Really, don't worry about typos. I had two writing samples--one that I was using for MA programs and one that I was using for PhD programs--and due to copying and pasting I left the name of the wrong sample in for 5 of my PhD applications. I got into Cornell and Rutgers regardless (and Chicago MA). I also found some small typos in my sample (stuff like "an" instead of "and"). Doesn't matter.

I had version control problems with my writing sample. I edit a lot. Like, professionally. I know how to edit my own writing. (As I'm sure everyone here does.) But I worked on multiple computers, and I had a few different files going, and in spite of the planning I tried to do I inevitably ended up submitting all my applications on the day of the deadline. And in the rush I sent a pre-final-edit version of my sample to 8 of the 11 schools I applied to--a version that included a handful of annoying errors that I later corrected.

Surprisingly I was able not to agonize over it too much. In the end all the schools that responded well to the application were ones that got the uncorrected version.

Maybe just those schools, though? People, if you can't keep track of your files, apply to Cornell and Rutgers, for they are forgiving in nature.

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I had version control problems with my writing sample. I edit a lot. Like, professionally. I know how to edit my own writing. (As I'm sure everyone here does.) But I worked on multiple computers, and I had a few different files going, and in spite of the planning I tried to do I inevitably ended up submitting all my applications on the day of the deadline. And in the rush I sent a pre-final-edit version of my sample to 8 of the 11 schools I applied to--a version that included a handful of annoying errors that I later corrected.

Surprisingly I was able not to agonize over it too much. In the end all the schools that responded well to the application were ones that got the uncorrected version.

Maybe just those schools, though? People, if you can't keep track of your files, apply to Cornell and Rutgers, for they are forgiving in nature.

And Princeton too, apparently. At least for waitlisting.

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I had version control problems with my writing sample. I edit a lot. Like, professionally. I know how to edit my own writing. (As I'm sure everyone here does.) But I worked on multiple computers, and I had a few different files going, and in spite of the planning I tried to do I inevitably ended up submitting all my applications on the day of the deadline. And in the rush I sent a pre-final-edit version of my sample to 8 of the 11 schools I applied to--a version that included a handful of annoying errors that I later corrected.

Surprisingly I was able not to agonize over it too much. In the end all the schools that responded well to the application were ones that got the uncorrected version.

Maybe just those schools, though? People, if you can't keep track of your files, apply to Cornell and Rutgers, for they are forgiving in nature.

or maybe it's just Renaissance people who are most forgiving! they know the power of language

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I told UNC-Chapel Hill that I wanted to attend the University of North Caroling.

...my brother has been asking me if I've heard from the elf school for a month.

I just fell off my bed laughing my head off - I spent a good ten to fifteen minutes in hysterics. Thank you for this.

How about damn punctuation? I've read thousands of pages where literary characters have conversed in text. You'd think I'd know better. No, you're wrong. Found punctuation mistakes in my writing sample and SOP.

"Those apples", instead of "Those apples ,"

What was I thinking? Still, yet to find an answer. Perhaps, I was on a subconscious, implosive rage against punctuation and its rules. I can only rationalize so much.

I'm pretty sure it's "Them apples." For the record. ;)

If I accept OSU's offer, I'll have to do some paper work. Protip: Do not write today's date in the field for date of birth. Will they reject me when they discover I am in fact not a scholarly infant prodigy? How long must I live this lie?

By OSU, do you mean Oregon or Ohio? If the latter, DO IT - I've never met an infant prodigy. (And that will make three :D of us. On GradCafe. As far as I'm aware.)

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By OSU, do you mean Oregon or Ohio? If the latter, DO IT - I've never met an infant prodigy. (And that will make three :D of us. On GradCafe. As far as I'm aware.)
There must be something about Ohio that attracts us infant prodigies like moths to the... bright, burning thing that attracts moths and then rewards them with generous employment prospects after several years of doctoral study. Because that's what moths like. They have that in common with infants. Also, neither population types especially well.

My writing sample has a silly spelling error. The error's in a quotation from a book I no longer have, and I didn't use sic, so I have no idea whether the error was original to the text or my own brilliant contribution.

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