Errata: Origin, Uses And Examples

An errata are the errors found in the published books or magazines printed material resulting from mechanical failures of some kind. Said corrections are found in a section within the same publication, in which the nature of the error and its location within the context are indicated.

This method is applied in those cases where the material is extremely extensive for immediate correction. The errata resource should only be used in those where the error is purely spelling or punctuation.

errata paper

Errors that do not fall within this field, such as the structure of a sentence, its inaccuracy, about adjectives, among other tricks of style, cannot be corrected under this method.

An error in a printed text can come from transposed letters, missing lines of text, or simple typesetting errors that are the result of a printer or a printer apprentice making a mistake when mounting the text on the press. Some layout errors such as so-called orphan words fall into this range.

Origin of the term errata

Errata is originally the plural of the Latin noun erratum.  It bequeathed in the middle of the seventeenth century to be used as a singular noun, meaning “a list of errors or corrections that must be made in a book.

Despite the objections of some about its use in the singular, it is common to find annotations like this: the errata begins on page 237Although misprints were frequent on the first print, most of them were corrected on later prints.

As a singular noun, the errata has developed a plural form “errata” in English, which is rarely used, unless accompanied by the word “faith.” The term also appears in Benjamin Franklin’s diary, where he refers to the various errors in his own life as misprints .

Method of use

Errata refer to errors in printing or writing such as misspellings, omissions, and some variations in typography.

For example, after an interview, the testimony is transcribed by the reporter. After reading the transcript, both parties can send a list of misprints to the reporter so that corrections can be made to reflect and increase the accuracy of the testimony itself.

However, none of the parties involved in the correction of the text may use a list of misprints to change the printed wording due to a change of opinion regarding the testimony given.

It is used to simply correct errors that have gone unnoticed under the eye of the proofreader or editor, so if drastic changes are sought in the printed content, the errata may be rejected or subject to a new revision and printing, which it would delay the printing of the manuscript.

Forms of presentation: The page or errata sheet

Its presentation is usually standard. It is viewed as a list of corrections to the text or content of a complete work, often placed or included in the book as a separate sheet of paper, but sometimes as an attached or linked whole sheet.

The errata sheet is the attachment that contains the corrections from the editor-in-chief in charge of publishing the manuscript. The reasons for said corrections are also found on said page, placing them within a literal context in the work.

An errata sheet or page is intended to inform the reader, editor, proofreader or author of the errors in the manuscript, making reference to them and listing them one by one. 

This sheet is not intended to drastically and substantially change what is stated in the manuscript, but rather to reveal spelling doubts that have been allowed to escape.

Importance of errata in the publishing world

In the publishing process, the publisher must have a broad judgment when placing the page, since he must print and include a slip indicating the errors, where they are located and the correction of both the location and the error.

If the editor-in-chief decides not to place the page, it can have serious consequences that the work itself is not published. Finally, the publisher can choose to remove the book from the shelves for a defined time and replace it with a new, corrected one.

The presence of misprints can be a significant point in the priority of issuance of a given book, depending on the volume of the book and the misprints.

Errata Considerations

If the author finds a significant error after publication, the online versions of the manuscript will be corrected and the errata referenced. All this when the error is not significant.

A significant error implies incorrect information. Some spelling errors can fall into this range if that context changes its meaning.

Typographical errors that are still legible, grammar corrections, and post-publication discoveries both online and on digital paper are not generally considered errata. This includes information updates.

When is a misprint required?

The resource is always required for last minute corrections that cannot be stopped once the manuscript has been approved for publication, at least in physical format, so the errata page is added as a contingency measure.

There is a tendency to confuse the expression errata with errata. The difference is that this error distorts the context and rationale of the work in general.

Technical changes can be made, for example, the proofreader has the absolute power to correct minor or proper spelling errors.

Today, errata can be achieved in other ways during the text, adding to the resource of the page notes or the glossary of terms, depending on the literary characteristic, the publisher, the publisher and the way it was laid out. .

Errata examples

The non-Catholic pope

In August 2015, the prestigious newspaper The Times published a report on John Paul II in which he made a mistake for which he had to rectify with the following errata:

John Paul II was referred to in last Saturday’s column as the first non-Catholic pope in 450 years. Of course, there it should have been read that he was the first non-Italian. We apologize for the mistake.

The Brazilian candidate from Toy Story

In an interview with Eduardo Jorge Diz, candidate for the presidency of Brazil, by Veja, she made the mistake of confusing the hobby of her interviewee, having to rectify as follows:

The presidential candidate we interviewed days ago is not entertained by the Toy Story cartoons as we originally reported, but by Tolstoy, author of Russian classics. We apologize to the readers.

Difference with faith of errors

It often happens that there is confusion between errata and errata, expressions that have nothing in common.

In the case of faith errors, this is used in informative newspapers, specifically in the Letters to the editor section to clarify mistakes that were published days before.

This is an example that appeared in the Spanish newspaper El País:

In relation to the information published by this newspaper on February 8 in the printed edition —page 22— and the digital edition of Galicia under the title Apotheosis of enchufismo, […] it orders the publication of the following rectification text:

“The driver who was driving the vehicle is an employee of the lawyer, he does not have any employment or dependency relationship with Mr. Baltar, nor was he a delegate or candidate for the Popular Party. Likewise, his wife did not approve the last opposition called in the Provincial Council nor does she work in said entity, but is a self-employed worker ”.


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