Is there such thing as "a written malapropism" or "a slip of the pen"? Or are they just simple spelling mistakes? If they were unintentional, they couldn't be considered puns or a play with words, I presume.


2 Answers 2


The one you've listed (presuming the qoutes are yours) is a simple homophones:

(Linguistics) one of a group of words pronounced in the same way but differing in meaning or spelling or both, as for example bear and bare.

It's not a pun, because eating its mail makes no sense.

A slip of the pen is regarded as a type of heterophemy, the unintentional use of an incorrect or inappropriate word or phrase in speech or writing. - Richard Nordquist

  • 3
    If you really think "devouring ones mail during copulation" nonsensical you are fortunate. I now can't get out of my head "Just put the tablet down for a moment, all right?". Oct 25, 2014 at 17:14
  • @TimLymington - people read their emails? Seriously? Oct 25, 2014 at 18:57
  • or social media ... Honey, my status just got 5 likes.
    – SrJoven
    Oct 26, 2014 at 1:29

If the sentence includes the double-quotes (as in your post title), you can presume that the usage is deliberate. Without the double-quotes, the error is using the wrong heterograph.


error type

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