Member Rara Avis
Actually, Ron, "mistakes" does appear in the sentence, though the letters aren't necessarily in that precise order. (Get technical with a programmer and expect the same in return! ) You do, however, raise the secondary effect of self-referencing language constructs. They can often be ambiguous.
Chris, are you sure?
Essorant, the lack of a period is grammatically correct, and even if the single quotes and bold question mark were errors, they are not part of the sentence in question.
Stephen, I saw that interpretation of the word "mistakes" and tried to think of a suitable synonym to eliminate the intentional angle. But I didn't try very hard after I realized "they were all intentional" is an assumption. We can't really know that for certain.
But, of course, your play-along conclusion and Eddie's post mark the point where things get interesting. There are only two spelling mistakes in the sentence, making the statement that there are three mistakes inaccurate. The content, thus, becomes the third mistake. But that realization then makes the content accurate, and we're back to just two mistakes.
This is really just a twist on the Epimenides or "liar" paradox we've explored before (ergo, Eddie's reference, which itself becomes a paradox when you know he lives in England). A self-referencing entity refers to itself before it even exists, and this process becomes essential to its existence. It can be fun to create self-referencing paradoxes, and even more fun to try to twist language into a solution to the paradox (even though Gödel mathematically proved, way back in 1931, that paradox forms an implicit and necessary part of every axiomatic system of logical reasoning.). Self-referencing paradoxes can also make excellent playgrounds for writers, as Kafka so delightfully proved again and again. But I also think self-reference can be a useful lens for examining many common "truths."
Every rule has an exception.
All generalizations are misleading.
Ignore all well-meaning advice.
Everything is subjective.
Truth is an illusion.
These aphorisms, and probably hundreds more, are all self-referencing. That doesn't necessarily make them paradoxical, though. "This sentence is true," is obviously self-referencing, but not a paradox. "This sentence is false," however, can only be true if it's false and will only be false if it's true. Instant paradox!
It seems to me that any statement that is self-referencing (such as this one?), must be put under the microscope a little longer than would a non-self-referencing statement. The question is, what should we be looking for? Is each such statement a unique case? Is our only course to examine every possible self-referencing statement for contradictions? Or is there a general rule that would help us determine when self-reference becomes paradox?