The Great Typo Hunt: My Enemies Insert Errors Into Everything You Believe Is Wrong

The Great Typo Hunt: My Enemies Insert Errors Into Everything You Believe Is Wrong

From Anon:

I’m trying to read your book, “Everything You Believe is Wrong”, but it’s tough going. You need an editor! Case in point, in the section “Democracy is Discord” the first sentence in the second paragraph reads, “Consider that is was once much more likely for people within States to have a shared cultures than with the country as a whole, if only because States are comprised of smaller groups.”

Of course the third word should be “it”, and “a shared cultures” should be “a shared culture.”

Your work is too important to not have a good editor.

I’d like to volunteer. I suspect you have many readers who would also volunteer. You could easily recruit ten from your daily readers. Just ask. Give each volunteer 10% of the text, either as plain text .txt, or as .doc, and let the good grammar roll.

Anon is one of several who wrote to say that they found the typos my enemies placed in Everything You Believe is Wrong.

This has to be my enemies. For I went over the chapters in this book many, many (many), times, and over a period of years. I rewrote each Chapter a dozen times. I ruthlessly cut the weak parts: I showed no pity. I ispell-ed it I don’t know how many times. I read it aloud.

I sweat, I bled, I toiled. I labored. Until I was sick of the sight of the thing.

Yet, even I saw, right after publication, right there on the first damned page, the word sf appearing where so should be.

Now I ask you. How else is this possible unless my enemies, the vile creatures that they are, snuck in behind my back and played these dastardly tricks on me?

Well, exactly.

However, I have a plan to exact revenge. Part of the thanks go to Anon above. Part goes to others who have communicated secretly with me, hoping to bypass the vigilance of my enemies.

These folks are sending me, quietly, errors that they discover. But if I could beg the rest of you, as Anon above, to print them below in the comments, we would all benefit. For not everybody can catch each typo. As I always say, my enemies are many, and we are few.

This post will now appear permanently linked on the Books page, so conveniently found on the Menu bar above.

Once I have amassed all typos, I’ll fix the text and ensure future copies are error free, guaranteed.1

Typos, however, are only a small thing next to the arguments themselves.

BONUS Argument Answered

I am grateful for the help in uncovering typos, but even happier to answer rebuttals to the arguments in the book. That is, after all, the purpose of the book.

So far, I only had this exchange with a man on Twitter. Recalling all my tweets die (tragically) of coronadoom after one week, you won’t find this after next Wednesday, so I repeat the exchange here.

Man: “@FamedCelebrity reading your book. On page 76 you state ‘thus when the government says “You must claim these two men are married”, you must not agree.’ Is this based on the assumption two men married is immoral? I see no argument offered for the definition of morality applied.”

Me: “Excellent question. Two men cannot be married because of the natural law definition of marriage. The government coercing you into saying what is false, and you know to be false, is immoral.”

Lady (who interjected): “That’s it. Marriage has had a definition since language began. The nature of same sex relationships–notwithstanding the similarities–is different from that definition. Compassion over truth leads to intellectual dishonesty.”

Man: “I agree with the last part. But I don’t see how it follows that because marriage had an original definition, that definition is truth for all time. Many words have required refinement over the millennia. Also if you have evidence marriage was among the first words, please share.”

Me: “First glib response is ‘Ask your parents’. Short answer is: biology. The remaining arguments are too long for Twitter. Here is one (of many) using the word ‘gmarriage’, for ‘government-defined marriage.'” I provided a link to “The Gmarriage Dialogue“.

Man: “Interesting read, thank you for sharing. Enjoying the book. Refreshing to encounter a text that explicitly sets rules of engagement, saves a lot of headaches around what’s worth and not worth pursuing mentally.”

This, of course, is what I had hoped to accomplish.

1Guarantee not guaranteed.


  1. McChuck

    Regarding the above argument: The word “woman” derives from “wifman”, the wife of a man. In early English, as in the other Germanic languages, there were girls, wives, and widows.

  2. yomamma

    and you misused the word “comprised,” which your self-appointed editor missed.

  3. Joy

    On reading Briggs first book, Breaking the Law of Averages
    I did so on a CCTV during my lunch breaks. typos used to be easy to spot because one has to look at each and every letter in order to read a text visually.

    So thinking I was being helpful, I used to write to BRiggs with my latest list of typos, paragraph and line. In the end, the last list was abandoned and stopped reading at chapter five as I don’t have an “R”, and you need an R , apparently.

    So I feel anon’s pain.
    Then there’s the one who said something about compassion above truth.
    That is a straw man, since they are not in conflict and thinking so is false. (since we’re on fallacies.)
    Jesus did not at any stage make compassionate decisions that meant the truth did not stand.
    More like state the argument another way…

    It’s not either or, again, it’s both
    Think about the woman caught in adultery. Think about the criminal who was crucified with Jesus. Think about his remarks in Matthew about visiting people in prison.

    Justin Welby had interesting things to say about this topic, maybe for another day.

    Back to the typos.
    Remove all spell checking as you do the first draft. Only once you’ve manually checked, run the spellchecker. OTHERWISE it does what it does to me here all the time, as I can’t control the computer properly…it changes words for preferences which change meaning in a sometimes funny sometimes most embarrassing way. Neonates, to nazis was the cutest.

    Due to the fact that Briggs has persisted with the joke about his enemies, which IS funny, and because I’m so gullible. I really did start to believe and even still slightly do, that there’s someone messing about with the comments. Who could that be? Other stranger things happened and that didn’t help.

    Briggs is forgiven for what he didn’t do. He’ll be thrilled

  4. Hagfish Bagpipe

    ”Man: “I agree with the last part. But I don’t see how it follows that because marriage had an original definition, that definition is truth for all time. Many words have required refinement over the millennia. Also if you have evidence marriage was among the first words, please share.”

    Those aren’t typos, Briggs — you’re simply refining words.

  5. Terry B

    In the alternative, fine writers short of an editor could rely on angels. You know—gathering the worthy thought into barns and casting the typo weeds into the flames.

  6. Mark

    Great reading. Bumped into a few of these myself, including some mentioned in your post above:

    16p… In each case he does *sp* to imply… Presumably should be “so”.

    16p… Following line at the top of the next paragraph:
    “Most men who *becomes*…” Presumably should be singular not plural.

    28p… If you *a* genuinely uncertain of a position… Presumably should be “are”.

    40p… We’re close to *the* now, of course, but *were* Falsity and not truth protected… Presumably should be “that” and “where”?

    67p… Voting works, yes, but only in *the* those situations when… Presumably “the” should be removed.

    And those only are the ones that I marked-up in the text and could flip back and easily find. I’m only up to Chapter 6, so more to come as I come across them.


  7. PaulH

    Just an off-topic comment, here. I was finding that my grammar and composition in my emails and documents were not very good. I was re-reading and re-writing to make my thoughts as clear as possible. That was getting time-consuming, so I installed a software product called Grammarly. Alas, it was not much better, as I was spending even more time deciphering Grammarly’s various warnings and suggestions.

    I think a live proofreader is still the best option, but I doubt a live individual is interested in my email and other ramblings. 😉 A book, on the other hand…

  8. Ye Olde Statistician

    ‘wifman’ does not mean ‘wife of a man’ but simply a female. The prefix ‘wif-‘ did become wife. The corresponding term for a male was ‘wereman,’ cognate with the Latin ‘vir.’ The prefix was lost over time, save in terms like ‘werewolf.’ The root ‘-man’ or ‘-mann’ meant ‘a rational being,’ cf. mental. When Beowulf tells us that everyone worked together to rebuild Heorot, males and females, the expression used was wera ond wifa.

  9. Joy

    so authentic men are really called “Vera”s…
    Now they’re called Karen?
    sloppy moderns…

  10. I can’t spel or tipe, but I’m a slow learner and would b e gappy to volunteer.

    Seriously: nitpicking is something I get accused of all the time..

  11. Johnno

    When re-reading what you write, there is a tendency not to notice one’s own errors everywhere. Sometimes it is better to re-read it a week later, wherein you’ll discover more errors you hasn’t noticed before. So a fresh set of eyes or 4 eyes by editors help. And even then, the brain’s tendency to fill in errors with the correct thing steps in to autocorrect on the fly. It is yrue of general readers too. But if course everyone will notice something.

    Software itself isn’t perfect. Sometimes a habit of autocorrect ingrains bad typing and misspelling in you without you noticing. Even worse is the cell phone age where touch screens and mini keyboards exacerbate the situation and make typing a chore, and autocorrecting needs to be turned off by default.

    Another great example of technology dooming us all. Blasted things. When government isn’t tracking you with them, they are destroying civilization one autocorrected misspelling or entirely wrong word at a time.

  12. tonald

    Some things, if you change the definition, lose all meaning. Among those are “Marriage,” “Vaccine,” and “Triangle.”

  13. Joy

    Yes it’s true of all things, if the definition changes then the subject described “changes”, or at lest it means your’e talking about something else.
    Yet the definition of “vaccine” hasn’t changed. People just don’t understand what they’re talking about when it comes to vaccination and inoculation.
    Nobody argues when a new drug is developed that some “definition” has changed.
    So it’s yet another straw man about the vaccines which does the rounds without merit.

  14. Joy

    I’ve finally had enough
    Will see if there’s anything on the post from back in May about he new paper as I don’t want to go back on my word, but other than that, I’m done for a little while

  15. JohnM

    I am highly dyslexic and so I have great understanding that we can read into a sentence that which we want it to read. I find Spellcheck both a help and a hindrance. It underlines words that are obviously incorrectly spelt (most of them I would find for myself) but passes words that are spelt correctly, but it is not the word that I wanted to type. Also on this site (and many others) the American spelling of words is a pain – is the word spelt correctly in true English or is it an American colonial word? As for Predictive typing, I will not give my thoughts otherwise Dr Briggs would ban me.
    As with many dyslexics I can often know that a word is spelt incorrectly by the shape, it does not look like the shape of the word that I know is correct. This gift is very useful when reading signposts, the shape of the word tells me the town in a split second. Recognising** the word shape is why I find that when someone types text consisting of all capital letters I am required to read it very carefully. Often I have to read a sentence two or three times before it makes sense.
    As well as having a brain that is dyslexic, my fingers are, too. If I received 1€ for every time that I write ‘hte’ instead of ‘the’ I would be far richer than I now am.
    ** No, Spellcheck, the word is spelt with an ‘s’ not a bloody ‘z’.

  16. Joy

    Ah, that’s a refreshing comment JohnM

  17. Audry

    I am reading the Kindle version and I thought perhaps the typos were only on the e-version. Somewhere along the line I started highlighting them, thinking somehow that would help. Text highlighted by others shows up.

  18. rpt

    In this case your enemy is most likely yourself, technology used for production of your book and your printer/publisher.

    That people are incapable of detecting their own typos is an old knowledge and it is true of writing, typesetting or accounting. It used to be a good practice to have someone else to do corrections. Printers used to do corrections several times before getting the job printed and hopefully they are still doing it though the demand for short deadlines might have changed that.

    Also automatic corrections, format conversions and fonts are still not entirely reliable, even in 2021. The best thing would be to provide your printer with press-ready PDF and even then the RIP (raster image processing) technology can screw something up.

    All best in the upcoming new year and keep up the good work.

  19. Mark

    Typos Chapter 7… P=page; PG=paragraph; L=line:

    – P96 PG6 L3… “believes” not “believe”.

    – P97 PG5 L4… should “judge’s” be “judges’”?

    – P97 PG6 L1… “those” should be deleted?

    – P99 PG1 L3… the quote mark in front of the word “And” in the middle of the sentence is close-quote, but should be the open-quote.

    – P99 PG4 L1-2… should be “beyond”, not “behind”?

    – P100 PG1 L2… “whose origins”, not “who origins”.

    – P100 PG2 L6… “toys *are* given”.

    – P101 PG3 L3… should be *no* free will, not *not* free will.

    Some of these may be stylistic issues that I have mistaken for typos… but presented nonetheless.


  20. Mark

    Typos Chapter 8… P=page; PG=paragraph; L=line:

    – P103 PG2 L1… “which the” instead of “which we”?

    – P103 PG3 L41… not sure about this one, but “from something’s” appears it may need to be broken into two separate words?

    – P113 PG2 L4… an extra “them” inserted? Should be, “For them, it is axiomatic that possessing…” or, “For, it is axiomatic to them that possessing…”?

    Otherwise, appears to be pretty clean to me.


  21. Mark

    Typos Chapter 9… P=page; PG=paragraph; L=line:

    P125… Ooooh, right in the title: Somebody Might *Get* Hurt.

    P126 PG1 L4… “Sorry”, not “Sure”?

    Same line: …only fallacy *that* comes…

    P127 PG2 L2… … those *that* rule over us…

    P132 PG1 L5… Should the “2” in CO2 be subscripted?

    P132 PG2 L4… …should not *be*…, not “bee”.

    Slow going… Back at work, so not much spare time.


  22. Mark

    Typos Chapter 10… P=page; PG=paragraph; L=line:

    P142 PG3 L3… as a cultural warfare *tactic*, not “tacit”?

    P143, section subtitle… *Nigh*, not “Night”.

  23. Mark

    Typos Chapter 11… P=page; PG=paragraph; L=line:

    P149 PG6 L4… groups, not group.

    P150 PG3 L5… Though, not thought.

    P150 PG6 L2… This *is* a hard core…

    P154 PG4 L3… … And somebody accident have *one* or none. Not “two” as it now reads?

    P169 PG3 L4… sutee should be spelled with two “t”‘s? Suttee?

    P173 PG3 L2… It *is* also necessarily

    P174 PG1 L2… What *it* means is…

    Still enjoying the read…

  24. Mark

    Typos Chapter 12… P=page; PG=paragraph; L=line:

    P189 PG3 L2… …non-divers *could*… Not cold.

    P194 PG7 L1… …about 8-10 times “from”… Not sure what word you were going for.

    Enough for today…

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