One superfluous “e” messes up a good percentage of my text messages, emails, and documents.
One little “e” changes my nouns and adjectives into an unintended verb.
One annoying “e” makes me sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about, and as an English teacher, editor, and poet, this drives me crazy.
Most people don’t notice. But that’s not the point. I notice. I know when that extra “e” has attached itself to the end of my intended word like a little barnacle on a ship’s rudder.
The problem with this typo, is that it doesn’t even register as a typo. Technically, the word I’m trying to spell is the typo, and by the grace of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Robocop, this little “e” is supposed to be my grammatical savior.
The issue here, which I’m sure you’ve gathered already, is that I’m trying to spell “improv,” but every device I own wants to change the word to “improve”.
So I end up typing out text messages to my wife that say, “Are we going to improve tonight?” To which she’ll respond, “Well that depends, sweetie. Will you be ruining dinner again?” Burn. Unnecessary burn.
Or I’ll email another improviser, “What’s your favorite improve activity?” With the obvious response, “Therapy.”
But one time I don’t mind this typo is when I’m writing about improv class. I’ve come to realize that improv class and improve class are essentially the same thing.
Yes, technically I mean “improvisational comedy class,” but I also one-hundred-percent mean “skills that help improve your life class.” I say this because skills that make for good improv comedy are skills that also make for improved relationships, business interactions, parenting strategies, etc.
For example, when we work to shift our improv perspective toward “Yes, and,” we’re really developing skills that help us see and value other people’s perspectives and orienting ourselves toward what we can give instead of what we can get.
When we focus on paying intense attention to our scene partners, we’re also practicing skills that help us better understand what our friends, partners, kids, and coworkers are really trying to say.
When we flail onstage for the first time, we confront our fear in a safe environment and learn that failure doesn’t have to mean we’re done traveling, it can mean we’re one step closer to getting where we want to go.
In these ways, and so many more, improv class and improve class are truly interchangeable.
What may be my most common typo, may also be my most accurate.
- By James Buscher