Sequential is not the same

Writers are not always the best people to trust with numbers or arithmetic. Or even the definition of words relating to numbers or arithmetic. And when the numerically challenged writer is given to hyperbole, the results can be quite ridiculous:

sequential 0

The writer is quite correct that 12-12-12 is a once-in-a-century date. But so is 11-27-12 and 06-04-13. In fact, if you’re using two digits for the year, then every date is a once-in-a-century date.

But, wait! There’s more! Like this attempt at showing examples of sequential numbers on Yahoo! Shine:

sequential

The number 10 is the same as the number 10, which is also the same as the number 10; they are not sequential, they are identical. The writer was probably just thinking (or really, not thinking) that the numbers form a familiar pattern and she thought that meant they were sequential.

What did you think it meant?

What did the writer for yahoo.com think “comes a calling” meant? Is it the kind of calling that compels one to enter a life of monastic asceticism? Is it the cry of a female cat in heat?

fp a calling

Or is it just the result of someone trying to use a quaint expression, without regard for its actual meaning or spelling? The expression is “come a-calling.” And according to the American Heritage Dictionary, “prefixing a- to verb forms ending in -ing… was once fairly common in vernacular U.S. speech, particularly in the highland areas of the South and in the Southwest. …Eventually a- disappeared from many dialects, including Standard English in the United States and Great Britain, although it is still retained today in some isolated dialect areas, particularly among older speakers.”

Ah, Yahoo!. Ever in the forefront of modern American English.

It’s just too much

The things you learn on Yahoo! Shine! I had no idea that designer Karl Lagerfeld made his runway debut in 2010 — alongside his father, who must be 100 years old, in light of the fact that little Karl is 79:

model 1

When not gleaning inside info on the world of Paris fashion, I find the most amusing use of apostrophes here, where the writer uses a contraction in place of a possessive pronoun:

model 2

and here where she thinks an apostrophe can be used to form a plural:

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I guess if you’re a writer in an industry that takes itself seriously, you’d be sure to match a verb to its subject. But if you’re a writer for Yahoo!, grammar rules are meant to be broken:

model 4

But any exposure to rules of grammar has its cost:

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In the case of this writer, the cost is mental overload. It’s just too much to remember: It’s means it is or it has. Its is the possessive pronoun. It’s just too much.

What your writing reveals

Your writing can reveal a lot about you. If you’re the writer for Yahoo! Screen, it can reveal your ineptitude with creating a simple series:

list screen

Your readers would be stumbling on “…she reveals her love of costume parties, good wine, and reveals her hidden rock star talent” because what you wrote is really three items in a series:

“…she:

  • reveals her love of costume parties
  • good wine
  • reveals her hidden rock star talent”

Based on my decades of editing really crappy writing, I believe this is what you meant:

…she reveals her love of costume parties and good wine and her hidden rock star talent.

Linday — the day after Sinday?

Is Linday the day after Sinday? Or is it another spelling of Lindsay Lohan’s name on Yahoo! Screen?

name linday lohan screen

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