It looks like two people wrote this teaser on the Yahoo! front page and they couldn’t agree on the plural of SEAL:
A SEAL is a member of the United States Navy’s Sea, Air, and Land team. The plural, according to the U.S. Navy’s website, is SEALs.
Don’t you get insulted when a writer “talks down” to you? I know I do! I hate it when a writer uses a vocabulary that is so unsophisticated that even a rhesus monkey could understand it. I lose patience when the simplest terms are explained in excruciating detail. I can’t stand it when the writer has to torture the language just so it’s grammatically correct.
If you’re like me, then you’ll enjoy reading this article on Yahoo! News! This writer is so sure that you’re a member in good standing of Mensa that he doesn’t bother to insure that pronouns have actual antecedents (even if he knew what an antecedent was):
He knows you don’t care if he drops the hyphen from the name of a newspaper. (It’s the Press-Citizen, but who really cares?) When you read that 2 AM is in the morning, you know he didn’t include that redundancy for you:
It’s not often that you read something by a professional writer that contains a grammatical gaffe like the incorrect past tense of a common verb. OK, so it is often, if you’re reading an article by a Yahoo! employee and the article reads like the writer had drunk one too many Bud Lights:
But that’s OK! It’s just a verb and you knew what he meant, right? And the missing hyphen (again) in Press-Citizen is no biggie. And you don’t have to know what PBT stands for, unless you’re a serious alcoholic, then you already know it’s short for preliminary breath test.
Wouldn’t you want to read about Chad Harvey while enjoying a helpful picture of someone named Matt Harvey? I know I would. Perhaps Matt Harvey is Chad Harvey’s brother. Or father. Or uncle. Or next-door neighbor, who looks enough like Chad to stand in for him in the article:
The writer has enough confidence in your mental acuity that he doesn’t have to tell you what a BAC is. Heck, he doesn’t even have to form its plural correctly; he’s sure you won’t mind if he throws an apostrophe in there. (By the way, for you Mennonites and others who shun alcohol, BAC stands for blood alcohol content. Or Bank of America Corp.)
Finally, when you think things couldn’t get worse, the writer does not disappoint:
Imagine not knowing where to put the correlative conjunction not only…but also. Imagine not knowing that the partner of not only is but also. But you know that. You would have written:
to have survived not only driving while intoxicated, but also the punishment they inflicted on their bodies.
to not only survive driving while intoxicated, but also survive the punishment they inflicted on their bodies.
But writing grammatically correct sentences is just patronizing your readers.
It’s amazing what you can find on Yahoo! News. And not in a good way. You’d think that the writers and editors for a site that is allegedly about news would know if socialist is a proper noun or a common one. But noooo:
You’d think that they’d know how to proofread to find extraneous words. But noooo:
And you’d think that a site that’s headquartered in the U.S. would employ folks who knew how to spell U.S. And who knew that Key West is the name of an island in Florida. But noooo:
Imagine having a job where you can make mistakes in front of millions of people and you still collect a paycheck. If you’re a writer looking for a gig where spelling, grammar, and common sense are not required, you could work for Yahoo! Shine.
Really, could you be any worse than the writer who came up with this bit of hooey?
I don’t know what a couple could do “under” a 22-year marriage. They certainly couldn’t sign a prenuptial agreement under a marriage or even during a marriage. A prenup has to be signed before a marriage because that’s what prenuptial means. But you knew that. Maybe you’re overqualified for Shine.
You probably also know that you don’t form the plural of Jenner with an apostrophe, even if it’s followed by an S. And you likely know that there’s no abbreviation a.ka. because that would make NO sense. When you want to abbreviate “also known as” you use aka or AKA or a.k.a. You don’t make up the spelling of celebrity names; you look them up in that new and whacky online resource known as the Web. So, you’d know how to spell Robin Givens. And you wouldn’t bother with the redundant use of a dollar sign and the word dollars:
You know that people are wealthy and agreements are not. Agreements are lucrative:
You wouldn’t make up a name like “the K-Dash line”; you’d go to the QVC site to see that it’s K-DASH by Kardashian. And you’d be aware that the preferred spelling in the U.S. is jewelry:
And since you’re sensitive to the placement of punctuation, you’d put the apostrophe after daughters (because you’re also sensitive to the fact that Ms. Jenner has more than one daughter). You also like to match a verb (like, say, maybe factors) to its subject (oh, maybe self-promotion):
If you pay attention to your spell-checker when it indicates that becaue isn’t a word, you may just be overqualified for Yahoo!:
Unsure of how to abbreviate a word? Lack the confidence to use an apostrophe or a period? Then use them both! That’s what the writer/editor for the Yahoo! front page did:
There are several acceptable ways to shorten the word government, but using both an apostrophe and a period is not one of them.
The plural of CEO is CEOs — no apostrophe required. Please ignore what you see on Yahoo! Shine:
Perhaps it’s a love of punctuation that drove the editor for Yahoo! Shine to write TV with periods (it’s not an abbreviation of tele vision) and tearjerkers with a hyphen:
According to several dictionaries (including the American Heritage Dictionary, which the editor could have found on the Yahoo! network), there’s no hyphen in tearjerker.
Have you ever wondered what is the modus operandi for writers at Yahoo! Shine? Do you wonder how they can get paid for work that isn’t up to the standards of a high school newspaper? What was the writer thinking when she decided that M.O. was the abbreviation for Missouri?
Actually, M.O. isn’t even the abbreviation for modus operandi, which is MO without the periods. If you follow Associated Press style, you use Mo. (and not the postal abbreviation MO) as the abbreviation for Missouri.
Fact-checking also isn’t part of her work habits. I can’t overlook the “lutes slippers,” which were actually called “lotus slippers.” Nor can I ignore the fact that they did not have high heels:
Foot pedals are devices that you operate with your foot, like the pedal on a sewing machine. The writer is actually describing Foot Petals, a trademark of a product that fits into shoes.
So, what was the writer’s MO when composing this? Write anything. Right or wrong. But definitely wrong.
Is there anyone in the United States of America who hasn’t heard of the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade? And who doesn’t know that it’s commonly pronounced Roe VEE Wade? There’s at least one person — who may be writing from a cubicle farm in Mumbai — who’s unfamiliar with the court case and with the abbreviation for versus in legalese. And that person writes for the Yahoo! front page:
According to Grammar Girl:
In American law, the widely used citation standard is the “Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation,” which demands that opposing legal parties be separated by “v.” when referring to a particular case. This usage is also used by the news media and other writers when referring to legal cases.