Missing words

I searched the forums, and was unable to locate a similar issue.

I have written a few novels in scrivener. Last year I completed one, and sent it out to readers. One piece of consistent feedback I got was that I had left out words in sentences. I had written that book very quickly and largely at night along with being a master of the typo, so I put it on the list of things to be mindful of next time.

Recently my wife started using the software on her laptop for a writing project. Today, while she was editing the piece she was surprised to find so many sentences with small words missing. She said “I must have been writing this at night because there are just so many small words like To and Off missing from this. I’ve never had this happen like this before. Ugh!”

It was so similar to what I had experienced that it stuck with me. Then I went to a author Facebook group I’m a part of where I know there are a lot of other Scrivener users to ask if anyone else had the same problem.

And there were a lot of responses.

Most were Windows users with the last update installed. One Mac user. Some were using cloud backups and a few weren’t. Some are using older versions. One user has the beta for Windows.

We’re all experiencing the same issue: Small words were missing from sentences. Sometimes they would be in the Scriv file but not in the DocX export or epub export. Way too many for it to be a user-generated typo issue.

Occam’s razor: “simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones.”

There are two main alternatives:

  1. the coders have introduced secret code in the software which identify and in a seemingly random manner remove two-letter words in the text, here and there
  2. the writers sometimes miss writing two-letter words but don’t notice this while writing

I’d go for number 2. How come only these very small words are missing? Because when a long word is missing the content is changed and that’s more easily noticed by the writer.

You say beta readers notice missing particles. Has anyone taken the compiled output, and compared with the original Scrivener contents? If they match, then it’s likely that Lunk’s hypothesis is correct.

This cannot be a bug in both Mac and Windows. The Mac and Windows code bases are completely separate. As I understand it, the Windows version is not a “port” of the Mac version; it is a reimplementation (re-coded from the ground up.)

FWIW, over the last couple of years, I’ve used the Win 1.9 and iOS versions on a daily basis, have written hundreds of thousands of words in them, and this doesn’t happen to me.


At least one of those scenarios, where the scrivener contents contain the missing text, but not the compiled output, the most likely culprit is the Replacements section of the compile interface. There may be something fancy going on there that’s accidentally finding “of” and “an” and replacing them with nothing or a single space…

Has anyone seriously demonstrated that the compiled output miss two-letter words that are present in the Scrivener project?

I agree that the first and most likely reason is the user. Words get missed because you’re typing too quickly and your fingers skip past the To The I Of, etc. I initially wrote it off as “Oh, that’s me. I guess I am seeing what I think I wrote and not what I actually wrote. Again. It’s a new breed of typo I’ll have to be aware of from now on.”

Then my wife said something very similar- gee, there are a lot of missing words. Way more than I would have thought. I must have written this late at night when I was tired!

I thought that was weird. then I reached out to a Facebook writing group to see if it was just us or other people have the same problem. Several people have the same problem.

Some people are using extensions like Pro Writing Aid. Other’s aren’t. Most of the users experiencing this are Windows users.

One of the suggestions was an Auto Complete error happening when the compile happened, Word or whatever would attempt to “correct” a word into something else or omit it. However, neither I nor my wife have those features enabled on our Windows machines.

So we need to have a scriv file and a compiled document that contain the errors? Can they be attached here or should I email them to support@?

The first step would be for you to test your hypothesis on your own data, i.e your own and your wife’s text.

I suspect the issue is with you. If you are writing with a busy schedule, you are not going to be at your freshest and it is easy for small errors to creep in.

Before you create the finished file, I would suggest you read the text aloud. Better still, if you have a program which can read it out for you, because it might be possible for your brain to correct to the text that should be there.