Not so hot

When is a hot spot not a hot spot?

fp hot spot

When it’s a hotspot!

fp hotspots

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the preferred spelling is hot spot, although hotspot is acceptable. According to the yahoo.com team of crackerjack editors and writers, both spellings are acceptable simultaneously. The rest of the professional scribes in the world agree on one spelling and stick to it.

Two cents’ worth of advice

I wouldn’t give you two cents for the editors who write headlines for Yahoo! News. They’re not exactly grammatical genius, and when they make a mistake, it’s in big, bold letters:

news dollars

Here’s my two cents’ worth of advice: Learn about something called a quasi or pseudo possessive. It’s an expression that occurs with a number (like millions) and a unit of money or time (like dollars) that requires an apostrophe.

If you’re unsure if an apostrophe is required, try substituting “one” for the number. If the plural of the unit sounds right, then you’ve got a pseudo possessive and an apostrophe is needed. Of course, this method requires that you have an ear for grammatically correct expressions. So, if the Yahoo! staffer had mentally substituted “one dollars worth” for “millions of dollars worth,” then it would be clear that dollars needed an apostrophe.

Other examples of pseudo possessives you’re likely to read (but not see correctly punctuated on Yahoo!) are:

One day’s pay
Three years’ experience
Two months’ worth of food

It’s not Christmas, it’s oysters on the half shell!

For some, it’s not a contraction, it’s a possessive pronoun. For others, it’s a non sequitur.

its not xmas shine

For still others, it’s the typical mistakes that pepper Yahoo! Shine every day.

Grammatically challenged writers confuse its and it’s, and most often use it’s (a contraction for it is or it has) when they should be using its (a possessive pronoun). But Yahoo! writers are, if nothing else, creative in their misuse of English. But few professional writers would write two sentences in such a similar, yet completely wrong, structure to imply that “for some, it’s not Christmas; for others, it’s oysters on the half shell.” Which is true, now that I think about it.

(What the writer really meant: For some, it’s not Christmas until they have a glass of eggnog by a twinkling tree. For others, it’s not Christmas until they dig into oysters on the half shell.)

That’s not exactly ‘old as time’

If “photographic attention” is “as old as time,” then cameras are a lot older than I thought they were:

scandal top 10

Or, the writer for Yahoo! News is just really, really bad at figures of speech.

All together now…

Let’s say this together: It’s ensemble. E-N-S-E-M-B-L-E. It doesn’t rhyme with gamble or ramble, except in the mind of the Yahoo! Shopping writer:

ensamble shopping 2

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