Spelling matters?

Michael B Quinion TheEditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Tue Sep 16 10:14:51 UTC 2003

Several copies of an intriguing message have been forwarded to
me recently; interestingly, no two were exactly the same. A
Google search shows it suddenly started to appear in groups on
12 September, with 159 copies being posted that day alone. It
has since hit the wider Web, with about 560 different examples
already catalogued. One version is:

"Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't
mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny
iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the
rghit pclae The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed
it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not
raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe".

This is intriguingly self-referentially right, in that it's
surprisingly easy to read. I presume that the reference to the
research is spurious, but if anybody has any background on its
provenance or subject matter, I'd be interested to hear.

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: <TheEditor at worldwidewords.org>
Web: <http://www.worldwidewords.org/>

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