Speaking of typos in blogging, check out this Wired article about the effects (affects?) of blogging on the quality of writing. I have, for quite some time, been concerned about this issue. Writing and language is a social activity and considering how inherently social a phenomenon blogging is, I cringe whenever I see a blog post that says “then” when the person meant “than” or “its” when the person meant “it’s” or any of a hundred errors being passed along communally.
Of course, the flip side of this is that English, as a language, is much more complex and convoluted than it needs to be. We have far too many words (this phrase, “too many words,” was the name of my first website, back in the pre-blog days), many more words than are necessary to communicate, and thus, I think, our communication can sometimes be more muddied than it should be. So, perhaps it will be better 100 years from now if “then” and “than” are essentially the same thing and the meaning is determined, like most meaning, from the context.
Then again, someone writing “Than again…” still makes me cringe.