A Typo or a Typing Mistake? Which Is Correct?

When we want to discuss or refer to a mistake made when typing or to point out a printing error, we call it a “typo” or “typing mistake.” Both are correct to use in writing or speech. But, “typo” is a much shorter and quicker way of referencing a typing mistake. What’s more, most people understand what you’re saying.

“Typo” is actually the truncated version of “typographical error,” otherwise known as a “typing mistake.” However, to be more succinct about it, “typo” is more frequent and common. The good thing is that both ways of saying it are nouns.

Typographical Errors

The word “typo” didn’t originally mean a printing or typing mistake. In 1816, “typo” refers to a “typographer.” This was a job title for someone who worked with printing machines and organizing letters. The resulting effort helped to produce pamphlets, books, newspapers periodicals and other literature.

The first use of “typographical error” comes from about 1560 in Europe. But the first documented use of “typo” started around 1892 as a synoptic of “typing mistake.” Ever since it’s become an integral aspect of the English language when referencing a “typing mistake.”

Typing Mistakes

It’s acceptable to use “typing mistake” rather than “typo.” It just takes longer to express it. So, when you want to be quick about communicating a “typing mistake,” use “typo.” But, if you’re trying to instruct or display a mistake for the purposes of teaching and education, “typing mistake” will be more literal.

Some Examples

To demonstrate a noun in reference to a mistake made in typing or printing, there are certain ways to use it. Consider the list of examples below to see how both “typing mistake” and “typo” indicate a typographical error.

I made a typo, I should have put an “o” where the “p” is.

This magazine always has typos and it’s really unprofessional.

Your typing mistakes don’t show a good knowledge of writing.

See this typing mistake? I think he meant to say “your” not “you’re”.


“Typing mistake” or “typo” are both acceptable when you want to demonstrate or point out an error in printed writing. This can come from a printing press or from the writer when using a keyboard or typewriter. There is no right or wrong between the two. It’s just that “typo” is a much briefer method for saying it.