Burly armpits and legs

An article on Yahoo! Shine about women’s body hair presented some hairy problems for the writer — most notably when it came to writing numbers:

hair 1

The writer has no clue how to write an age or a span of ages. It should be “18- to 24-year-olds” (or “those 18 to 24 years old”). And she doesn’t know that fractions, when written out, require a hyphen, like this: two-thirds.

The plural of the abbreviation STD is STDs. Notice the lack of an apostrophe. Except here, of course:

hair 2

You might wonder why the writer changed the subject from women’s body hair to women showing off their muscular pits and legs. (And just how does one get a burly armpit?)

hair 3

I don’t think the writer meant to change the subject. I believe she’s so vocabulary-challenged that she thinks that burly means hairy or unshaven. Normally, I advise writers with limited vocabularies not to try to stretch them by using big words that aren’t part of their everyday speech. But I never, ever would have predicted that any professional writer — even one who worked for Yahoo! — didn’t know what burly meant.

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