This is a sorry excuse for writing

I’m sorry to say it, but it’s hard to believe that this article from Yahoo! Shine was produced by a professional writer. Heck, it’s hard to believe it was written by a middle school graduate.

There are a few minor problems, like needlessly capitalizing a word. “Sorry” doesn’t get a capital letter unless it’s at the start of a sentence or you’re writing about the board game:

sorry 1

This is a sorry attempt at making a possessive out of women:

sorry 2

(To form the possessive of a plural noun not ending in S, just add an apostrophe and S: women’s, men’s, children’s.)

Things get a little sorrier with an error-filled paragraph, which includes a subject-verb mismatch (the subject study takes the verb has identified):

sorry 3

A “verbal tick” sounds like a talking, bloodsucking arachnid. If the writer meant an idiosyncratic and habitual behavior, that would be a tic. Then there’s the issue of the pronoun they, which has no antecedent. Just who is they? The rest of the sentence is just a mess. If you’re still reading that article at this point, I feel sorry for you.

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4 Responses to “This is a sorry excuse for writing”

  1. ericjbaker Says:

    “They found that women apologize more than men because guys have a higher threshold for what warrants wrongdoing and are more likely to report an offense as more severe than men, leading to them apologize more frequently.”

    Just stare at that for a minute, children. That is the face of evil. If you see it coming toward you, run screaming in the other direction.

    • Laura Says:

      OK, so I finally got what that sentence was trying to say. I thought it was implying that men are more likely to report an offense as more severe than men.

  2. lectorconstans Says:

    I could accept “They” as “the authors of the study”, though perhaps “it” would be better.

    I wonder if there’s another article about “how often you say the word ‘like’ (as in, “i’m like ‘where’s he coming from?’, and he’s like, “…….”).

    I’ve heard it said, now and again, that it’s hard to find college graduates who can write coherently. Since an organization whose existence depends on writing coherently (Yahoo!) can’t find them, the rest of the country must be in bad shape.

    The NYT does seem to get its grammar and syntax right (though not necessarily its content).

    • Laura Says:

      I think that “they” would be the authors of the study or the persons conducting the study or those people who analyzed the data. They could all be the same people. But the pronoun needs an antecedent in the article, not one in the reader’s mind.

      I don’t know if recent college grads write as well as those who graduated 30 years ago. I’ve seen anecdotal evidence that they don’t, but have not read any authoritative studies. I don’t know if that’s the cause of all the errors made by Yahoo’ers. There could be other forces at play.


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