/ Technology

How texting can take an embarrassing turn

Text message autocorrect

Ahead of my sister’s birthday, I fired off a quick text to my mum with some suggestions for presents. However, in my haste, I managed to suggest a wholly inappropriate gift idea…

My sister and I had recently been on a trip together, so I thought it might be a good idea to make a photo album. But somehow, rather than texting my mum that I’d make a photo album, I said I’d ‘naked’ a photo album. Luckily, the mistake was so nonsensical, it didn’t lead to any awkward misinterpretations.

But it did get me thinking about funny autocorrects. A quick search through my phone revealed a number of mistakes…

A few funny slip-ups

I regularly visit my parents in Dorset – but my phone doesn’t recognise this word and always changes it to ‘corset’. One message to a friend read ‘I can’t go out because I’m in corset this weekend’. The next text: ‘I meant corset, not corset’. I’d fallen into the trap and couldn’t get the word I wanted; no matter how hard I tried to out-fox the autocorrect.

One Christmas my boyfriend was coming home late without a key, so his mum helpfully texted him to saying the ‘Jews’ were under the step. She meant ‘keys’ of course. And the best one lurking in my phone’s memory: ‘text me when you get heterosexual’. What I meant was, ‘text me when you get here’.

Then there are the numerous cases when a phone won’t accept somebody’s name. Our deputy tech editor regularly signs off with ‘Rosy’ rather than ‘Rory’. He assures us this is an autocorrect mistake.

The trouble with touchscreens

A quick search online reveals lots of hilarious autocorrect mishaps, most of which are too rude to repeat here. And they’re becoming more common thanks to the rise in popularity of touchscreen phones and tablets. Although my swanky new Android outperforms my ancient Blackberry in many ways, I do miss tapping away on the real keys.

If you’re a tablet user and regularly fall foul of the autocorrect never fear, help is at hand. There are numerous detachable keyboards you can use. But with touchscreen phones, you’re still at the mercy of autocorrect.

Have you ever had an embarrassing autocorrect incident? Or are you careful to craft a faultless message every time?


Don’t use it! Take control of your own words and your fingers. I hate being manipulated by a machine.

I cannot be bothered with sending text messages. I find it tedious without autocorrect and incredible frustrating with it switched on. If I have to send a text then I use Skype on an iPad. Nice large ‘keys’ and no pressing buttons several times for the correct letter.

Weirdly, and somewhat unfortunately, my iPhone auto-corrects my name (Matt) into ‘Mary’. I’ve signed off quite a few text messages like this, which does cause confusion.

Mary (sorry, Matt)

Rosy, Mary… I’m just trying to think what I’d be… since I use SwiftKey predictive text on Android, I get the next word suggested for me. So when I type Patrick I get the option of Vieira, Moore or Stewart. Even when I start typing Steen, it’s determined to turn me into Patrick Stewart. Once the second ‘e’ comes in, it wants to make me ‘Patrick Steel’. Still, I prefer that to ‘Patrick Sheen’, which is who nuisance callers often ask for…

I like predictive text and ‘spell’ important words if the prediction gets stuck. I save the correct word in the dictionary for next time. I find it much easier to use than stupid (in my view) non standard abbreviations. I use text messages to other mobiles to save money or if a phone call is inappropriate, in hospital for instance.

Whenever I type “surprised” on my iPhone, it comes out as “autopsied”.

“Candidate for a Pullet Surprise” is a poem by Mark Eckman and Jerrold H. Zar which still makes me chuckle. It is about the dangers of spell-checking computers, but relevant to texting.

No apologies for the link – I’m sure many of you are too young to remember how things were in the “good old days” … .


I’ve always quite liked how my phone changes ‘fancy a pint’ to ‘fancy a riot’.

This is not the first time mobile phones have been implicated in civil unrest. 🙂