Writer? Then you’ll know Muphry’s Law

Nope, it’s not a typo. But if you’re somebody who writes for a living you’ll more than likely be well acquainted with Muphry’s Law. Earlier this week was the first time I’d heard about it, but I found myself chuckling inwardly and nodding my head sagely.

Muphry’s Law as defined by Wikipedia is:

…an adage that states that ‘if you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written’. The name is a deliberate misspelling of ‘Murphy’s law’

The law states that:

(a) if you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written;
(b) if an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book;
(c) the stronger the sentiment expressed in (a) and (b), the greater the fault;
(d) any book devoted to editing or style will be internally inconsistent.

I know I’ve been there: that sinking feeling as you read the introduction email you sent out last week, only to notice a typo in the text. Or the copy on your website, with an obvious (well, to everybody else but you) mistake in the title. Seeing, wood, trees, anyone?

We’re only human, of course, but for some reason that’s an excuse copywriters and editors can rarely use without meeting a snort of derision… Would love to read about any of your wordy foul (maybe ‘fowl’?) ups!

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