About Terribly Write

With the billions and billions of pages floating out there in the Web galaxy — and the billions and billions of words they contain — it’s no surprise that you’ll notice an occasional typo or grammatical slip. But, every typo, misspelling, wrong word, and punctuation misstep erodes the credibility of a website.

173 Responses to “About Terribly Write”

  1. Gary Korb Says:

    Hi Laura,
    Stumbled upon your blog via a Google alert with the headline, “Close but no cigars.” As a professional copywriter, myself, I find your site is very informative. I’ll be coming back. I’m also going to pass it on to our proofreader.
    Thanks,
    Gary Korb

  2. Old Man Says:

    Very interesting site. I can’t wait to check it every day for some new offense against the language. I’ve passed the link on to other writers I know.

  3. universitydiary Says:

    I’ve just come across your blog – largely because I just wrote an entry about apostrophes in my own blog: http://universitydiary.wordpress.com

    Excellent blog – so few people can understand grammar now…

  4. Michele Says:

    Woohoo! Laura has a blog now! It’s about time. Definitely bookmarking this — dare I email the URL to the Yahoo! Today Module programmers? ; )

  5. T-bat Says:

    You’re a cruel, cruel, but incredibly correct person ;-) I live in dread of the day something I’ve written shows up here! (Thank the gods I don’t work on Shine; well, I’m glad about that in general, heh). Keep on truckin’!

  6. Kar Says:

    Finally, a blog devoted to the most pressing issue of our — or at least my — day: The uses and abuses of language online. I am addicted to Terribly Write. (Is that so wrong?)

  7. Boss (not yahoo) Says:

    Oh, dear! Keep it up. And remember, as I edited last week, riesling is i before e, sangiovese doesn’t have extra anything but fruit (no additional s, accent etc) and Médoc does have an accent and plenty of chutzpah.
    And we couldn’t say “cheers” without wine.

  8. Boss (not yahoo) Says:

    Darn, I forgot the ! Yahoo!

  9. Dallas Willcox (Simply Words Editing Services) Says:

    Excellent blog! Perhaps some of your readers would be interested in joining the new ‘Spelling, punctuation and grammar’ group on Facebook.

  10. dao Says:

    Laura. I <3 you and your blog. I’ve spent some of the precious hours I have between classes and reading pestering the Y! editors about their typos. Don’t even get me started on the Olympic “coverage.”

    /me cringes at the thought.

  11. curious Says:

    Are you the copyeditor that got let go by yahoo? If so this blog makes a lot more sense. I mean who has the time or the will to do this?

  12. Laura Says:

    Dear curious,
    No, I am not a copyeditor who was let go by Yahoo!. Surprisingly it takes very little time to post entries to this blog each day. Anyone who visits Yahoo! can spot the minor and major errors very quickly. And many of the slip-ups reported on Terribly Write are sent to me by my loyal readers.

    • Jason Says:

      Don’t lie Laura. You were fired by Yahoo. At least hold yourself to some standard of accuracy.

      • Laura Says:

        Jason, I don’t know who you are or why you would make up information about me. I was not fired by Yahoo!. And I have a very high standard of accuracy, which is more than I can say for you.

  13. Jerry Yang Says:

    I hope you are getting paid for all this work because otherwise it seems like a sad existence to just look for errors within the Yahoo! sites. We should hire you since you clearly are doing a better job than our own editors.

  14. Old Man Says:

    Hey, I’m a fan of TW and I don’t imagine it’s either a huge time expenditure or a sad existence. Every so often I learn something new about writing or grammar from TW. Teaching people about the English language through examples is interesting and in no way sad. And it can’t take too much time because Yahoo! is such a huge source of errors that finding them must be incredibly easy.

    If I thought you were the REAL Jerry Yang, I might point out that a really sad existence might be acting as a failing CEO of a failing company.

  15. Simply curious Says:

    Just trying to understand your motivation here. You left Yahoo! yet choose to devote a decent amount of time and effort to monitoring the site. A sense of duty to your former employer? Inability to let go of old habit? Glee at the failings of your diminished editorial team? You are clearly a skilled editor with a sharp eye, but your enthusiasm for doing this feels somewhere between puzzling and disconcerting.

  16. Old Man Says:

    Dear curious/Simply curious/whatever other troll handles you use: Just trying to understand your motivation here. You are clearly a Yahoo! employee, yet you choose to devote a decent amount of time and effort to monitoring the TW site and questioning the motives of the blogger. A sense of duty to your employer? Embarrassment at the publicizing of your mistakes? A desire to put down someone who’s trying to educate people about good writing? Your enthusiasm for doing this feels somewhere between puzzling and disconcerting.

    I don’t presume to speak for the blogger, but I see (and appreciate) this site for what it is: an attempt to teach grammar and writing skills through correction of bad examples. The choice of Yahoo! as the source of bad writing examples seems apt, as it restricts the search for errors to a single error-rich site and saves time.

    Perhaps you should spend less time questioning the motives of the blogger and more time questioning the skills of the writers and editors whose work is displayed on the site (yourself included, I would presume).

  17. Old Man Says:

    It’s one thing to educate people about good writing, and another to fixate on the site where you used to work. Why not find examples from all over the InterWeb? The Yahoo! focus casts a blemish on otherwise great work.

    And no, this troll doesn’t work at Yahoo! anymore.

  18. Laura Says:

    Dear Fake Old Man,

    As the Real Old Man has said, “The choice of Yahoo! as the source of bad writing examples seems apt, as it restricts the search for errors to a single error-rich site and saves time.”

    May I suggest that if you choose to enter comments in the future, you enter them using an original alias and not one of a loyal reader of Terribly Write. I wouldn’t want others to think that the Real Old Man feels that a “blemish” is being cast on “otherwise great work.” Clearly he does not.

    But, thanks for identifying yourself as a troll. It helps readers understand your true motivations.

  19. Old Man Says:

    This the genuine Old Man, and I am speaking to the troll who think it’s cute to copy my name:

    If you want to talk about fixations, I suggest you work really hard on your obsession with the blogger’s motives. If you really think this is “great work,” you shouldn’t worry about where the examples come from – only about the lessons they teach.

    But you’ll excuse me if I find your statements less than convincing. Anyone who changes his/her posting name as frequently as you do and copies the names of others hasn’t got a claim to much credibility.

  20. Jerry Yang Says:

    laura, i love the humor in your headlines. very clever.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    The copy editors at Yahoo! might be getting laid off. Is this good or bad for all the errors you catch?

  22. muah Says:

    anonymous: who says the copy editors might be getting laid off from yahoo!? yang and co. haven’t announced yet exactly who will be affected by the layoffs. if they know what’s good for them, they’ll keep the copy editors around — they’re obviously much-needed.

  23. Professor Plum Says:

    So sorry I missed the trolls.

    I agree with the real Old Man. It’s a great value to have real examples of errors pointed out, regardless of the source of those errors. Yes, it shows a certain lack of talent and care among writers of those examples. Generally, when someone finds errors in my writing, I’m glad to have the feedback. Improving is part of my job as a writer and editor. So is thick skin.

  24. muah han shien Says:

    As a copy editor at Google, I can see why Yahoo! is failing. Because of the culture of paranoia that sites like this provoke!

  25. Carlos Says:

    Howdy. I stumbled over here by way of a blog I frequent, Grammar in the Media (http://grammarinthemedia.blogspot.com/), and thought I’d say hello.

    I like your blog, and am going to link it to mine. Oh, and I’ll be using the previous commenter’s comment as my next entry ;-)

  26. Old Man Says:

    I understand the “culture of paranoia” at Yahoo! is so bad that some of its employees have taken to posing as Google copy editors before posting on this site. :)

  27. Old Man Says:

    It is obvious that most of these comments are made up by the owner of the blog, by grumpy Yahoo! employees, or by people with too much time on their hands. And is it true that editors at Yahoo! are purposely making errors to see if “Terribly Write” will notice? Desperate cries for attention???

    To the pretend “Old Man”, to “Muah”, and to all of the trolls: get a life and find some errors rather than sititng here whining.

  28. Old Man Says:

    Once again, this is the genuine Old Man, forced to reply to the troll who has now posed twice as Old Man. Apparently we can add stupidity to the list of your flaws, which we already know contains dishonesty.

    If you don’t like the blog, don’t read it. Ironic you should caution others to “get a life” when so much of yours is spent trolling this site.

  29. Laura Says:

    Dear Phony Old Man who posted 12/20 at 1:05 am:
    Judging from your use of “purposely” instead of “purposefully” and the typo “sititing” and the misplacement of the apostrophes outside the quotation marks, I’m guessing you’re an editor at Yahoo!.

    I suggest you try posting comments using a different alias and your real email address. The genuine Old Man uses his real email address, which I can view (but you can’t). So I’m confident of the identity of the real Old Man and sure that you ain’t him.

    As for the identities of other commenters: Some comments are posted by me, and all of my comments are under the name Laura. I don’t know if other comments are made by “grumpy Yahoo! employees.” Some folks identify themselves as employees of Yahoo!; others allege they work for Google.

  30. Joel Says:

    I love you, Laura. Your site is extremely useful.

  31. Joel Says:

    And entertaining. Ha-ha.

  32. ~**~Jayy aka Da President~**~ Says:

    A Very Educational Site! Great For Kids!
    imadeafunny.wordpress.com
    Jayy

  33. Manju Says:

    Thank you for a little information in this world full of errors. Misplaced apostrophes and the “bring vs take” problems make me go crazy. Some of the typos in mainstream media leave me wondering if I’m the only one who bothers to notice them.

    -Manju

  34. Peter Says:

    Perhaps a topic qith some quick examples when to use in or on in sentence.

  35. Peter Says:

    Hello,

    Perhaps a topic regarding the use of ‘IN” and “ON” correctly.

    When to use on when to use the other. Rules perhaps?

    Thanks

    Peter

  36. Peter Says:

    Please disregard the Peter entry of sept 14, 2009 at 1:50 pm.

    Wrong e-mail address.

    Thanks

    Peter

  37. anonymous Says:

    I can not spell and I donot know where punctuation goes. Am i qualified to write for Yahoo?

  38. grammar fan Says:

    I’ve been reading this blog for the last few months. All I want to know is how do these people — who make all these errors — still have a job? doesn’t yahoo care about the quality of the writing on its website?

  39. Kaysci Says:

    my teacher asked if you needed a comma after the city and state but no one answered her cause we didn’t know

  40. Laura Says:

    Kaysci,
    If you mean a city and state that appears in a sentence, then yes, you do need a comma after the city and after the state. Omitting the comma after the state is one of my “Top 5 Comma Errors” http://terriblywrite.wordpress.com/terribly-right-writing-for-the-web/top-5-comma-errors/

  41. Linda Says:

    Hi, Laura,

    Please see the last word of your last sentence. Isn’t the correct word “Web site” and not “website?”

    L

  42. Old Man Says:

    A usage note from Dictionary.com:

    “The transition from World Wide Web site to Web site to website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of other technological expressions which have tended to take unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar. Thus email is gaining ground over the forms E-mail and e-mail, especially in texts that are more technologically oriented. Similarly, there is an increasing preference for closed forms like homepage, online, and printout.”

  43. Avraham Says:

    New to the site and love it!

    Avraham (from http://aviscogitations.wordpress.com/)

  44. escher dax Says:

    Glad to have found your site! As a teacher, I’m always looking for examples of what not to do. I’ve got you bookmarked now — very useful site!
    dax (http://escherdax.wordpress.com/)

  45. bannedagain Says:

    Have enjoyed the site. Thanks again for helping mine out through Stumbleupon. We all have to deal with haters, but love the fans. Thanks =)

    Banned Again (http://bannedagain.wordpress.com/)

  46. JD Says:

    You seem to really dislike Yahoo! Shine. Are there reasons you focus on the terrible grammar from their site and not other news (I used that loosely) sites?

  47. Laura Says:

    JD,
    I focus on the grammatical gaffes, terrible typos, monstrous misspellings, etc. made by the writers and editors of Yahoo! and all its sites (including Yahoo! TV, Yahoo! Music, Yahoo! omg!). It’s not that I dislike Yahoo! Shine, it’s just that it provides a wealth of material for Terribly Write.

  48. JD Says:

    I’ll agree there, they do seem to have a lot of humorous mistakes daily. :)

    Keep up the great work! I get a few good laughs every time I check your site for updates.

  49. ishabelle Says:

    I really like your blog. It is very informative. I work as a language coach, and I really pay attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation. I am going to include you in my blogroll. More power! I hope to read mroe from you. :)

  50. Laura Says:

    Ishabelle,
    Thanks for the kind words. It would be an honor to be included in your blogroll. And come back often!

  51. Frank Says:

    Laura, it’s reassuring to see how many other grammar grouches there are: I’m not alone!

  52. clearbluewindow Says:

    Laura, this is a fantastic site! It’s bookmarked, subscribed to, and going on my blogroll. I am looking forward to spending a LOT more time here to laugh and learn. Brilliant!
    Kelly (http://clearbluewindow.wordpress.com/)

  53. Laura Says:

    Kelly, welcome! I’m glad you’re enjoying TW.

  54. John671 Says:

    Very nice site!

  55. Jon C. Says:

    I’m enjoying this site and learning a lot in a fun, entertaining way. Thanks for your great insights!

  56. Penny Says:

    Our customers will find this site extremely helpful – definitely going in our Links section!
    Prompt Proofing: http://www.promptproofing.com

  57. Laura Says:

    Do you take requests? I try to be careful but I never claim to be perfect. If you had a look at my site I’d appreciate the feedback. I’m sure there are common mistakes I don’t even notice myself. I took copy editing in college. The main thing I learned was how easy it is to muck up a sentence.

  58. Laura Says:

    Laura,
    Send me an email with more specifics and I’ll see if I can help: terriblywrite@yahoo.com

  59. Philip Says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for the comment on my blog; I feel I have the seal of approval now.
    Great site. Forget the naysayers.
    I’m now just wary of any of my stuff ending up here…
    P.

  60. Laura Says:

    Philip,
    Have no fear. Your writing is fine. Besides, I only focus on the writing of professional writers and editors who work for Yahoo!. And it’s a rich source of material for me.

  61. Drea Says:

    Thank you for your comment and thank you for this blog. I love it.

  62. The Corporate Writer Says:

    Woo hoo! Always thrilled to meet another stickler. Looking forward to reading. Deborah

    http://corporatewriter.wordpress.com/

  63. Freedom, by the way Says:

    Wow. I’m really surprised Yahoo! doesn’t have you under contract by now! They need you. I just found your blog from Simone Benedict’s Blog roll. I will be back–and I will make my teenage son visit, as well.

    • Laura Says:

      Yahoo! could definitely use some competent editors and/or proofreaders. But clearly this company does not care about accuracy or literacy or its readers.

  64. cgutierrez486 Says:

    Someone here is clearly mad about Yahoo!… I understand your motivation and I can tell… I can’t stand when people writes “you” as “yah”, for example. But you lose all your credibility as you post ONLY Yahoo! mistakes. I have seen worst mistakes in “prestigious” media like Nature, Reuters, AP (among others) than the Yahoo!’s “terrible” lapses appointed by you.

    **By the way, before you start to criticize, I am from Costa Rica and I don’t have any connection (except for a mail account that I don’t use anymore) with Yahoo! Just think this blog is unfair…

    • Laura Says:

      I really don’t understand how I could lose credibility because I choose to write about the mistakes made by writers working for one of the largest Internet companies in the world. With half a billion users, it’s hardly immune from criticism. My credibility should be based on facts: Either I’m right or I’m not.

      I also don’t see what is “unfair” about this blog. I don’t write about grannies blogging about their grandkids or about the greengrocer who can’t spell “potatoes.” I write about the work of scores of paid professionals whose work reflects on themselves and their employer. Nothing unfair about that.

  65. redpengirl Says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog; looks like I’ll be visiting yours quite often!
    Jami
    http://www.redpengirl.com

    http://redpengirl.wordpress.com/

  66. hiwaarco Says:

    Informative, amazing!!!, and I have decided to keep coming back. Who knows maybe one day I shall write about you!!!!

  67. Jim Says:

    Not only are your assessments accurate but visual (far more interesting that The Diacritics). I’m enough of a grammar nut that I think people genuinely get upset having conversations with me. You point out grammar issues even I would have missed which is quite a feat. Thank you, for making The World a better Place, ;-)

    • Laura Says:

      Thanks, Jim! I’m glad you’re enjoying Terribly Write — it’s an opportunity to eradicate bad grammar through snark.

    • Old Man Says:

      The Diacritics is not a grammar blog – unless, I suppose, your native language is Sanskrit. It is a monument to the colossal egos of two young law students who think pseudo-intellectual dissertations culled from their college linguistics texts constitute a grammar blog. They seem to have switched their academic interests to law – a good choice, considering their “grammar” blog is a crime.

  68. kaboom-ben Says:

    This is a very interesting site, and I will come back often. I always muddle up where and were any ideas about how to remember which is which?

  69. Master David Goodmen Says:

    Like the real Old Man, but unlike the fake “Old Man“, I like your site, too. There is zero excuse for bad grammar. As long as people present bad grammar as a professional product, there is a need and a place for those who make fun of same.
    Thank you!

  70. roboticrhetoric Says:

    Hi! Having read and enjoyed your blog, I mentioned you in my Blog award post thingy. http://roboticrhetoric.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/the-liebster-blog-award-for-me/ cheers!

  71. Alise Ramey Says:

    I just happened to stumble across your blog, and I wanted to say that I think you are doing a great job!

  72. CortlandWriter Says:

    Hi, Laura! I’ve been looking for a site such as this for a while now, and I am pleased with what I’ve discovered here. I’m a retired language arts teacher who enjoys all things pertaining to words. I am a writer now and will be checking in here frequently. Thanks for your efforts.

  73. lisa xiong Says:

    Would you spending $10,000-plus to elope?

    here’s another typo on yahoo homepage today!

    • Laura Says:

      Oh, I missed that one! Or maybe it’s just on the Yahoo! home page in your area. There’s certainly no shortage of typos on yahoo.com — and throughout Yahoo!. If you find others and are moved to submit them, please take a screenshot and send to terriblywrite@yahoocom. I promise to either give you full credit or keep you anonymous!

  74. Julie b Says:

    I am beginning to think Yahoo! has outsourced their editing jobs to India. Samara Mackareth is one of the worst grammatical offenders! Here is today’s – “Those are the politically plays we flagged this week.” . Idiocracy isn’t just a movie anymore. Slowly but surely we are becoming completely illiterate.

    • Laura Says:

      I’ve gotta take a look at that article. I featured one story by Samara here: http://terriblywrite.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/keep-in-mind/
      She really is horrible — and to think, they let her write for what is supposed to be a news site.

      I don’t think Yahoo! has real editors, at least as the rest of the world knows them. So, I don’t think the company is outsourcing the editing. Or the writing. It just seems that way because Yahoo!’s standards for writing is so low.

  75. Katherine Says:

    I have nominated you for an award. You can see the post here if you like. http://inspiredeverymoment.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/beautiful-blogger-award/

  76. Lauren S. Says:

    haha, this blog is awesome. Nice work. Now if only the Yahoo writers would read it…

    • Laura Says:

      When I first started the blog, some of the Yahoo writers and editors dropped in, and were not kind. Apparently they don’t like snark. Or maybe just snark directed at them.

  77. Chris A. Says:

    After finding three Yahoo! front-page headlines with errors in them in three days, I discovered I had become very, VERY angry at them. For some reason, I felt like I deserved better from an institution that bills itself as a media company. Then I stumbled on this site and discovered the truth–the terribly write truth. What is wrong with their editors, and why don’t other companies have as many problems?

    • Laura Says:

      Chris, welcome to TW. I don’t know how to explain the number and severity of the errors that appear on Yahoo! every day. I don’t know if Yahoo! has editors for the front page. If it does, they are completely incompetent. Some Yahoo! properties (like Shine) have people with the title of editor (even senior editor), but I believe their responsibilities are limited to selecting articles that appear on the site and some writing. I don’t think they have the chops to edit content, rather than just selecting it. I haven’t looked extensively at other companies’ online presence so I don’t know if the problem is especially egregious at Yahoo!. As you can see from earlier comments, most Yahoo!ers are extremely defensive about their inability to use the English language better than a fifth grader.

  78. typofails Says:

    Hiya Laura,

    Thanks a lot for having taken the time to check out my blog.
    It seems ever so tiny compared to yours, though great minds think alike :)

    A pity that the situation doesn’t seem to be improving much; but we have to keep going, and raising awareness through our blogs.

  79. Copymentor Says:

    Hello, Laura –
    Thank you for visiting my business writing blog. It is heartening to know there are others fighting the good fight. What can you do with a generation who think “parallelism” is a political movement?

  80. maggiemyklebust Says:

    I think I’ll follow you… This may be a fun way to improve my grammar ;)

  81. kimcollinseditingservices Says:

    Hi Laura,

    I’m really glad you liked my blog post!! (How did you even find it?) As you can see, I’ve just started. Looking at your page, I could probably spend a couple of hours here reading your blogs and loving every second of it!! Grammar gets me really excited. Hehehehe. From the looks of it, your blog covers a lot of the same stuff I plan to cover in mine. :)

    • Laura Says:

      I found your blog via the WordPress Reader. You’ve got lots of good company in the “blogging about grammar” world. I’ve been doing this for a few years and established by niche from the beginning — stuff found on Yahoo. I initially intended to focus on grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. mistakes made by the company’s professional writers and editors, but found that I just couldn’t ignore the other errors, such as factual mistakes.

  82. inlovewithjournals Says:

    Hey – wanted to let you know I think your blog is awesome! I have nominated you for a Versatile Bloggers Award – not your first, I’m sure. http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/ :)

  83. Libby Says:

    A blog after my own heart!

  84. ellamedler Says:

    Laura, I just wanted to say I love your blog. There’s an award waiting for you, if you want it. : )

    • Laura Says:

      Thank you for the nomination. I appreciate the recognition, though I don’t participate in blog competitions.

      • ellamedler Says:

        There is no competition, Laura. I gave you this award (it was given to me by another blogger). There is no catch. I just love your posts. : )

        • Laura Says:

          Well, in that case, I’m very honored. I just didn’t want to have to nominate 7 other blogs and write 7 things about myself, because I am a private person and would be forced to lie and I hate to lie, but I would anyway. So, thanks.

        • ellamedler Says:

          That’s perfectly fine, Laura. One thing we can be here – ourselves. But I still enjoy your blog, so I reserve the right to work on that special award for you in the future. i will respect your wishes and present it privately : )

  85. foureyedcurmudgeon Says:

    Preternaturally prolific, omnisciently observant, captivatingly creative, and fabulously funny.

  86. gabriellebauer Says:

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for visiting my blog (www.englishgrammargripe.com). I just signed on as a follower of yours. Looking forward to reading your take on the rampant abuses of the English languages.

    Gabrielle

    • Laura Says:

      Hey, Gabrielle! Welcome. Thanks for stopping by. I’ve enjoyed mousing around E.G.G. and I’m sure my readers will enjoy it, too!

  87. Lauren Says:

    Wow Laura what an amazing blog you have created. My passion is web content and I’ll be visiting yours a lot, there’s so much useful info here. Your blog has inspired me to get working on mine. By the way, thanks for visiting my blog (http://twv2.wordpress.com ) – it was so good to find a comment after just a couple of days online.
    Lauren

  88. Shenzi Says:

    The velocity of bad writing is picking up speed in this internet “culture”.
    People who have no business writing are using their keyboards to express themselves. Another factor is, everyone’s in such a hurry! Everything’s at internet speed. Poor writing on blogs I can overlook (even though I cringe) when I see it. But this trend is beginning to spill over into articles.
    I can’t tell you how many times I get newsletters online that are really badly written! If I have time I go through the piece, make note of the errors, and write the person back imploring her to “get yourself an editor!” or at the very least, proofread before sending. I tell them that, “you discredit yourself right off the bat if your piece has glaring typos in it.” Instant turn off for me, personally. If something is badly written, I simply stop reading it! Too painful to endure.
    I mean, some of these mistakes are so glaring it’s laughable! But it does no good. One woman with a newsletter responded by saying she was a American living in France and couldn’t afford an editor. I wrote back and said, “Do you have a friend who could proofread it for you? Glaring typos and poor writing automatically is a sure way to lose your audience. The thinking ones, anyway.” I even offered to be her proofreader. Never heard back. Boy, I bet she LOVES me!
    As a lover of words and the English Language this ever growing trend of sloppy, poor and even bad writing is an assault upon my better nature.

    It drives me nuts.

    Thank you for creating a place for me to vent!!

    You people are my tribe. We are a small lot, so we have to stick together!!

    • Laura Says:

      Amen to that! It seems that the worse a writer is, the more mistakes a writer makes, the more defensive they are. The good writers want to know about their slip-ups, correct them, and thank the critic. The real problem I have is with Yahoo!, a site that claims to have half a billion unique visitors a month. People around the world read the words of these so-called writers and believe what they read and believe that it is grammatically correct and spelled correctly. I would be ashamed to collect a paycheck and produce the quality of work that they do. But, what’s important to Yahoo! is the speed (as you noted) and the number of eyeballs on the words — not the accuracy or literacy of the text.

  89. Christopher Allen Says:

    Look at this! Just today, on September 1st, from the AP: “Several groups, including labor organizations and those opposing President Barack Obama’s positions on various issues, plan to demonstrate outside the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in tge coming days.” Sentence number one and you misspell the word “the.”

  90. Shenzi Says:

    I wish people would stop all the bickering and stay focused on the matter at hand – terrible writing!

  91. Shenzi Says:

    ” With the billions and billions of pages floating out there in the Web galaxy — and the billions and billions of words they contain — it’s no surprise that you’ll notice an occasional typo or grammatical slip. But, every typo, misspelling, wrong word, and punctuation misstep erodes the credibility of a website.”

    Ironically are mistakes in this paragraph.
    Can anyone find them?

    This is clearly the end of civilization as we have known it. (sigh..)

  92. Shenzi Says:

    A person with a keyboard does not a writer make.

    ~ Anonymous

  93. Shenzi Says:

    I am a writer and I do not use Spell Check.
    This is because I know to spell.
    If, and occasionally it does happen, there is a word I do not know how to spell, I look it up. I KNOW I dont know how to spell it because it doesn’t look right. And I want to be sure it’s correct before sending it out in public.

    I won the 4th grade spelling bee. I got the gift of being a good speller in the same way I got the gift of having a musical ear.. ( this helps with writing, especially poetry). I got lucky. It’s easy for me. Like breathing.

    Lots of brilliant, interesting people can’t spell. It’s a talent, like having good hand/eye coordination. Not everyone has it.

    Those people know they cant spell.
    Anyone who knows they cant spell and doesn’t use Spell Check is a moron.

    Just so we’re clear!

    • Laura Says:

      You feel you don’t need to use a spell-checker, because you’re a “natural” speller. But if you had used one on the comment you posted, it would have indicated that you have a double period, that there’s an extraneous space after the left parenthesis, and that you missed the apostrophe in “can’t” (twice) and “don’t.” A spell-checker is not just for those writers who have trouble spelling; it helps those who think they are great spellers but who make the occasional (or multiple) typos. Writers who take pride in their work will use any tool available to help ensure their writing is error-free. Spell-check can’t find every mistake, but it can find many that you might overlook. Just so we’re clear.

    • Old Man Says:

      Winning a spelling bee two years ago does not a writer make.

  94. Shenzi Says:

    This has all been a test to see how truly pointless this website is.
    You win!

  95. Barbara Brown Says:

    Dear Laura,
    (Well, THAT was interesting. . . in typing your name, I entered ‘Alura’. Not bad, for a typo . . .)

    (ahem)

    Dear Laura,

    It was a quintessential Roy Neary Moment when I happened upon your blog today. Thanks to your efforts, I will finally be able to discard a certain pen I’ve carried with me for years. No, it’s not red; in fact, I cannot be certain it contains ink anymore. I do know it has a fine point, though, because it’s the one I jab into my eyeball every time I read literature published by my employer.

    Thank you, again and again.

    Best regards,
    Barbara

    • Laura Says:

      You’re welcome. I’m honored that I am the reason for your discontinuing jabbing yourself. That cannot be good for your eyeball. And it must ruin your mascara.

    • CortlandWriter Says:

      What, may I ask, is a “Roy Neary Moment?” Thanks for the help.

      • Laura Says:

        Roy Neary was the character played by Richard Dreyfuss in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” I interpreted a “Roy Neary Moment” as a life-changing encounter.

        • CortlandWriter Says:

          Thanks. It’s been a hundred years since I saw that movie, and I really didn’t pay much attention then, so now I know your allusion. Thanks! By the way, wasn’t that the movie that had something to do with musical notes used to communicate? And were Reese’s Pieces an integral part of the story line? Drew Barrymore?

  96. Laura Says:

    Cortland, yes and no and no. Yes, there were notes used in an effort to communicate. No, there were no visible Reese’s Pieces. And Drew Barrymore and those Reese’s Pieces appeared in “E.T” — or maybe it was “Killer Klowns from Outer Space.” I get those two confused a lot.

  97. Shenzi Says:

    Is that Barbara Brown from CT?

    • Barbara Brown Says:

      Shenzi,
      I’m not from CT but I do hope she is a nice person, nonetheless.

      Laura,
      I only wear mascara on one eye. Thanks for your concern.

  98. Barbara Brown Says:

    It appears my allusion was more clumsy than clever, so I apologize and will attempt to elaborate. Roy Neary was indeed the name of Richard Dreyfuss’ character in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, and he did experience a life-changing encounter.
    My reference to Mr. Neary was meant to describe the isolation, frustration, anxiety, ridicule and misunderstanding he’d endured in his obsessive quest to find the truth. When he finally meets like-minded believers who embrace and respect the truth, he becomes relieved and overjoyed.

    For Cortland Writer:
    Drew Barrymore and Reese’s Pieces are associated with the movie “E.T.”

  99. IntrovertedAnalyst Says:

    This blog is amazing, and it’s quite a wake-up call to someone who’s an aspiring editor/reporter. I thank you very much for commenting on my blog- otherwise I would never have found this, and it put a huge smile on my face. You have a new follower :)

  100. cmdrysdale Says:

    I came across this after you liked one of my own postings on editing. Great site! Look forward to getting further postings from you.

  101. r2ruth Says:

    Thanks for the like on my blog. It seems you have a similar sense of humour to me and I’ve subscribed to the feed. You’re an inspiration – I’m still starting out on the blogging experience and finding it difficult but I will now endeavour to do more.

    • Laura Says:

      Keep at it! You’ll find it gets easier over time. BTW, I worked as an editor part-time when my kids were the same age as yours — my daughter was 9 and my son was 6! Looks like we have a lot more in common than just language and humor.

  102. prolemusings Says:

    This is brilliant! Though like many, I now have ‘the fear’ and would probably fail most of the ‘tests’!

    Great blog :)

  103. prolemusings Says:

    That’s good to hear :) and better still, how refreshing- I’ve had a yahoo email for years, and they’re yet to improve!

  104. simonreadbooks Says:

    Thanks for taking Yahoo to task. Its front page gives me hives on a regular basis.

  105. McCrazy Daily Lessons Says:

    Silly I know, but I have nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog Award”. Your blog is so full of common sense comedy. I wanted to share it with all MY readers. To see more click: http://mccrazydailylessons.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/one-lovely-blog-award-my-first-award-nomination/ Thank you for all you do!

  106. Far-East Editor Says:

    Hi Laura

    First, a little about me, so you know where I’m coming from.

    I’m an Australian, working as a volunteer editor for free online Japanese-English and Chinese-English dictionaries. The J-E one uses international English, including both American and British spellings, while the C-E one adheres to American English. I also translate professionally from Japanese into American English. I found your blog for the first time today while checking on the spelling and etymology of “ping-pong.”

    You have a page on ping-pong where you write “Ping-Pong is a registered trademark; table tennis is the sport.” That’s clearly an American viewpoint—which is fair enough, since you seem to be writing exclusively about American English—since “ping-pong” (lowercase) is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “[t]he game of table tennis.” But while http://www.pingpong.com (which represents the views of the registered trademark owner, Escalade Sports) claims that Ping-Pong® is a brand of (table tennis) equipment, Merriam-Webster says that Ping-Pong is “used for table tennis” (i.e. it refers to the game).

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ping-pong

    I take it you disagree with M-W?

    By the way, ping-pong is referred to in Chinese as pīngpāng, which actually sounds very much like the American pronunciation of ping-pong, and the character representation of the Chinese word 乒乓 looks rather like a table tennis table!

  107. Tucker Latham Says:

    Greetings, Laura:

    I happened upon your website for the first time today through a series of links that started at passiveaggressivenotes.com. I now know that I’m not alone; as a technical writer, I have many language-based “pet peeves,” but few friends who would care (much less with whom to commiserate). I feel as though I’ve found a sort of home, and after browsing just a few pages on this site, am now considering e-mailing Yahoo News and asking if they’re hiring editors. Oh, who am I kidding? If they cared, we wouldn’t see such a surfeit of incompetence! :)

    • Laura Says:

      You’re among friends here. I started my professional life as a tech writer, which was great discipline in clear and concise writing. If you care about quality writing, I don’t think you’d be happy at Yahoo! — I’m not even sure they have editors in the traditional sense; certainly there’s a dearth of competent editors.

  108. Larf Says:

    A keyboard does not a writer make!

  109. ThePenisMightier Says:

    Laura – I have a major issue with your site. While I think it’s fine you’re calling our grammatical issues on public articles, why are you specifically calling out the authors of those articles? Not only are you calling out these authors publicly, but by tagging them you’re also making sure you’re creating a negative perception of these people via google search. To make matters worse, you’re calling out specific people at Yahoo where you used to work. You’re also trying to remain anonymous while claiming you have no bias in targeting Yahoo and their authors. To even the playing field why don’t you just let people know your name is Laura V******n and add a disclaimer that you worked at Yahoo. Otherwise it just looks petty and vindictive…there’s really no reason to call out individuals at Yahoo like you’ve been doing.

    ThePenisMightier

    P.S. Not really fun when someone anonymously uses your real name is it?

    • Laura Says:

      I never mention the author’s name in any post, although I may include the author’s name (when it is in a byline) in a tag. I don’t see the problem. If a person puts his or her name to an article, that information is public; I would expect them to stand behind what they wrote. If I were writing a review of a book, I would include the author’s name. If I were reviewing a movie, I’d include the name of the director and the actors. I don’t create a negative impression of anyone; it is the writer who is creating the impression on the reader. If a name appears in a Google search because it is mentioned numerous times on Terribly Write, that might just be one measure of the quality of the writer’s work.

      I don’t comment on misspellings on a greengrocer’s sign or a blog by a granny about her grandkids. I write about the work of paid, professional writers whose work is read by millions of people around the world. There should be some standard for accuracy and readability, but there seems to be none at Yahoo!. The most common error reported on TW is misspelling. More than half the errors reported here would go away if the Yahoo! staffers simply used a spell checker. They have access to all kinds of online resources, human and digital editors, and yet the egregious errors continue. Instead of griping about a blogger who points out mistakes, why don’t you try eliminating them? Is there no support for quality writing at Yahoo!? Is that the real issue?

      By the way, I have never denied having worked for Yahoo!. As for “leveling the playing field” — I am a lone retiree whose job is not to do your editing for you. Yahoo! is one of the largest Internet companies in the world, with thousands of employees. And yet you all seem to think I’m the cause of the state of your original content.

      • Old Man Says:

        From the puerility of the ID, to the petty content of the message, to the ignorance of thinking you have hidden your name or previous experience at Yahoo!, it’s pretty obvious that Penis is a pretty apt description. :)

      • ThePenisMightier Says:

        “By the way, I have never denied having worked for Yahoo!”. Then why is it not clearly labeled on your site that you worked for Yahoo? This is the difference between coming off as objective vs. being subjective (which you are in this case.) Adding a disclaimer that you worked at Yahoo in your About Us section, would make it much more clear on why of all the news sites on the web, you single out Yahoo and their writers.

        I do not work for Yahoo nor have I ever worked for Yahoo. I have a friend who told me about your site and how people at Yahoo were upset about it. You’re assuming some of these people are ‘professional writers’ when in fact, they are not and create news content as part of their job – not the single basis for their job.

        I also don’t think you have any idea how you’re affecting these people by tagging them in the posts. Do you have any insight into whether or not the content creators have additional proofreaders or editors that can review their content? Or how that content is produced and under what timelines? I don’t know myself, but again, it seems you have no respect for other individuals. Google search some of the people you have tagged and see what comes up under their names. Would you appreciate it if something negative turned up under Google search for your name?

        Finally, my user ID is The Pen Is Mightier….I thought you would have gotten the SNL Jeopardy joke but more seriously, the subtext of the name and the your disregard for other Yahoo people as a former employee and now ‘retiree’.

        • Laura Says:

          The fact that I once worked for Yahoo! is irrelevant to this blog. It does not make me subjective; either I am right about the mistakes I report or I am wrong. Citing a grammatical error is not subjective, although there are times when honest people can disagree about the need for a comma or the preferred spelling of a word. Either the verb agrees with the subject or it doesn’t. That’s completely objective.

          If someone writes and gets paid to write, then I’d call them a professional writer. I take it you mean that they are not trained as writers or editors and that they lack the education, experience, and management support to do their jobs. That is a sad statement about the company they work for. When a company has the reach that Yahoo! does, I would hope that it realizes it has a moral and ethical obligation to publish accurate and understandable information.

          The circumstance under which an article is written is completely irrelevant to the reader. The reader only sees the final product. And readers do care about the quality of the writing. There are numerous times that I quote Yahoo!’s readers regarding a poorly written article. But basically what you’re saying is that some folks at Yahoo! don’t have the time and support they need to produce a quality product, and by that, supporting my contention that they don’t produce a quality product.

          No, I didn’t get your reference to SNL. But again, you support my contention that quality writing is important. The pen is mightier than the sword. And with its reach around the globe, to hundreds of millions of people, Yahoo! is wielding a pen much mightier than mine. At least I use a spell-checker.

        • Old Man Says:

          “Affecting people by tagging them in posts?” People whose byline is already on the atrocious writing that’s being commented on? This is quite possibly one of the lamest, most self-serving, irrational, illogical, content-free replies I have ever read on this site. SNL reference or not, you’re an adolescent jerk with an apparent ax to grind and absolutely no basis on which to grind it. Come back when you have something useful or intelligent to say. Based on what you’ve posted so far, that should be approximately… never.

        • ThePenisMightier Says:

          Laura – That is ridiculous that you state that “Yahoo! is irrelevant to this blog” when you worked at Yahoo, are targeting Yahoo writers and solely targeting Yahoo itself. I’m not arguing that correcting grammar is objective or subjective. But your argument that you only target Yahoo news because of it’s reach is completely ridiculous. Why not target the WSJ, NYT, Google News or others? You are specifically calling out individuals based on a bias you have and that is not objective. It’s really starting to feel like sour grapes. I have no idea if you were forced out of Yahoo but it’s certainly starting to feel that way.

          I also have no idea what people at Yahoo are paid and what they are paid for. I don’t work there and don’t have insight into their job requirements. However, it’s very clear based on your responses that you are delusional if you think that by tagging and calling out individual writers that you are somehow doing the internet a service. Seriously, what basis would you have for calling out individuals vs. just commenting on the grammar in an article?

          Old Man – first off, I don’t know you nor was I talking to you. Here’s something intelligent for you xxxxxxx I was trying to be nice pointing out the apparent bias on this site and that it’s xxxxxxx to call out individuals. It’s obvious given you comment literally 5 minutes after Laura that any responses you have will be subjective. I didn’t have an axe to grind but now I do – with you.

  110. Old Man Says:

    Do your best, Penis. Every time you post, the world gets dumber.

    And while you’re at it, can you translate into English “…but more seriously, the subtext of the name and the your disregard for other Yahoo people as a former employee and now ‘retiree’.”

    For God’s sake, try not to be so damn stupid.

  111. Laura Says:

    Penis, please reread my comment. I did NOT say “Yahoo is irrelevant to this blog” — I said my having worked there is irrelevant. And it should be quite evident why I don’t “target” the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, or any other legitimate news site — because they do a good job reporting the news accurately and with correct English. I can open yahoo.com and know within 5 minutes that I have fodder for at least one blog post. Why would I choose to spend hours reading other sites only to find the occasional typo? Yahoo is just that easy as a source for a post.

    I do not have a bias for or against Yahoo. You probably haven’t noticed that there are large areas in the Yahoo site that have never appeared in TW because they are well-written. And there are areas in the Yahoo network that appear over and over again because I know that I can find an error quickly and that it will be of interest to TW readers.

    I take it you (and perhaps Yahoo’s writers and editors) would prefer I not tag names. In other words, it’s a case of “please don’t mention my name because people can see how many mistakes I make.” Perhaps if the writers and editors spent more time figuring out how to avoid those mistakes I would have nothing to write about.

    I have also edited your comment to remove language that I find offensive.

    • ThePenisMightier Says:

      Laura – if you do not think there is any bias to your writing then why do you not put a disclaimer on your site that you had previously worked for Yahoo? Your continued defense that it’s irrelevant that you previously had worked at Yahoo but fail to list that on your site is ludicrous at best.

      As for your position on tagging names – karma is a b***h. I did the edit for you. Do not be surprised to find your name, your relation to Yahoo and your bias against Yahoo posting up on Google search results very soon. It will even be tagged against “terribly write” so that all of your readers (and future readers) can search for your site but then also find additional information on you. Given you have little regard for posting names of others, you shouldn’t have any problem if your name is associated with this blog and relationship with Yahoo. It’s all public knowledge right?

      And Old Man…please get a life. Do you not have anything better to do than cyber stalk Laura and then come to her defense when legitimate questions and issues are posed to her? Congrats, you win at calling others dumb and stupid. Where should I send the gold star and blue ribbon to?

      • Laura Says:

        Penis, this is getting ridiculous and juvenile. I use writer’s names because they have put their name on their work. It is in the byline. I learned very early that if you put your name on something, it means you stand behind your work. The name is public information and if the writers are upset because I’ve tagged their names, then perhaps they would be more comfortable omitting a byline and remaining anonymous.

        So, now you’re threatening me? For someone who claims to not work for Yahoo, you seem awfully invested in this site. Your bullying threats ring hollow. Anyone can now see on this site that I once worked for Yahoo. As I have repeatedly told you, I never denied it. And a simple search shows my full name on the first page of search results. But, hey, if you think you’ve uncovered some deep, dark secret about me based on your exceptional sleuthing abilities, go ahead and reveal it. I assure you, it will be met with a collective yawn.

        • ThePenisMightier Says:

          Laura – I wasn’t intending to be ‘juvenile’ and any ‘juvenile’ responses were to Old Man. He started with the name calling and I’ll address his replies independently.

          I respect your opinion on tagging people but do not necessarily agree with it. I feel to be fair, you should be clearly listing your previous association with Yahoo to provide transparency to your readers.

          I was also never ‘threatening’ you. If anybody has been doing cyber bullying it’s been you. You tag Yahoo writers claiming they’re ‘public’ targets, yet you hide your name on this site. It’s common to list a disclaimer or bias when you’re commenting on a company where you have an existing or prior relationship with. But, I guess in your world, those ethics don’t exist.

          Overall, I like what you’re doing with the site. I just don’t agree with how you’re going about it with little to no transparency.

  112. Old Man Says:

    Wow, just when you think it can’t get any more juvenile, Penis steps it up a notch. Apparently his “friends” at Yahoo! have no problem attaching their name to a byline, but when errors are found in their work, they prefer to be anonymous. Terribly Write lists a writer’s name in a tag only when the writer is already identified by his/her byline. Yet Penis feels he must ride his white horse to the rescue of the feelings of his poor “friends.” And then has the gall to advise others to “get a life.”

    I’ve been reading this blog since 2008 and once worked with Laura in a past life. Yes, I often respond to idiotic criticism of this site because (a) I enjoy the site and (b) Laura’s responses are, in my opinion, too courteous and mild for some of the morons (like Penis) who get offended by the blog and post juvenile drivel to prove a nonexistent point.

    Classy moves, Penis. Go for it – devote your life to posting information about others to Google. And then decide who really needs a life.


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