Mass mess is a miss

What a mess! It’s not often we see so many errors in so few words — even on the Yahoo! front page:

fp pleas

According to the Associated Press stylebook (which some at Yahoo! allege they follow), the title pope isn’t capitalized unless it precedes the pope’s name, like Pope Francis. The Catholic Mass is a proper noun. Pleas is a noun also, but a common one. It’s not a verb; the verb is pleads.

What’s going on at Yahoo?

There’s something really weird going on at yahoo.com. The number of bone-headed mistakes on that page has exploded. Is it a new writing staff? A bunch of interns hired for the summer? Outsourcing to a non-English-speaking country? Here’s just some of the things spotted on today’s Yahoo! front page.

If the marathon you’re writing about is in Boston, it’s the Boston Marathon (with a big M). That’s not the only thing I’d quibble about, though. I can’t say I agree with the statement that “retrievers are used to distract” people. There are many, many documented benefits to petting a dog, including lowering blood pressure:

fp marathon

Here’s a use of chide that’s new to me: It’s used as a transitive verb (meaning it has a direct object, in this case decision), so it means “to reprimand or scold mildly.” I don’t think anyone was chiding the decision — the person who made the decision, maybe was chided.

fp chided

Ah, the old subject-verb disagreement. There can’t be any disagreement that the subject is tenor and the verb should be is. Also, there’s that dangling modifier at the beginning of the sentence, which appears to modify tenor (which makes no sense), though it likely should modify the writing on the boat:

fp tenor are

OK, here’s a mystery for you: What was Iran stockpiling? Government cheese? This doesn’t contain a grammatical or spelling error. This is what is known as an error of omission: It tells you nothing.

fp stockpile

I almost spit out my sugar-free, nonfat vanilla latte when I read this:

fp cafe

The name of that café is a mouthful, n’est-ce pas? The hilarity continues when you realize that the poor French-challenged writer has mashed up Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots.

If you’re reading something online right now (and I think you are), then according to Yahoo!, that is the reason you procrastinate. It is not what you do when you procrastinate, it is the cause of the procrastination. Good to know.

fp procrastinate

Here’s one you can disagree with, but according to the American Heritage Dictionary, the preferred spelling in the U.S. is disk:

fp disc

And we’re back to that old bugaboo — matching a subject (series) with its verb (hint: it shouldn’t be show):

fp series show

Finally, there’s another preferred spelling: light-years (with a hyphen):

fp light years

Whew! That’s all for now. And by that I mean, I’m going to go get two Advils and lie down.

That doesn’t mean she’s sociable

Readers in the English-speaking world defy the writers/editors/proofreaders at yahoo.com and object to this mismatching of subject and verb:

fp defies

They also object to the use of socialist to refer Ms. Hidalgo. She is a member of the Socialist Party. That means she is a Socialist, not that she is gregarious, outgoing, and sociable.

Not quite that major

It’s not a big deal, but it’s also not correct on Yahoo! Sports:

teres major sports

Muscles in the human body are common nouns, although a few are capitalized because they include a person’s name, like Bell’s muscle and Horner’s muscle.

You write the top, I’ll write the bottom

I’ve finally figured out why there are so many inconsistencies on the Yahoo! front page. Why a word is written with and without quotation marks. Or the plural of an acronym has an uppercase and a lowercase S. And why you’ll see both Batkid and BatKid together. And you’ll see both drug test and drug-test. And now bitcoin and Bitcoin:

fp bitcoin

How does that happen? I’m guessin’ that one person writes the headline below the big picture and someone else who works for an entirely different company writes the brief head at the bottom.

It’s a veritable gold mine of goofs

How many goofs can you find in this one sentence on the home page of Yahoo! Music?

extra-martial music

I found three: The undercapitalized first word, the hysterically misspelled extramarital, and the mashed-up gold mine.

Uncommon phenomena

Here’s what happens when you try to use fancy words without heading to a dictionary first: You can look as foolish and pretentious as the writer for Yahoo! Shine who pounded out this:

phenomena shine

If the writer really meant a single occurrence or event, she should have used phenomenon, which is singular. Its plural is phenomena (although some dictionaries allow phenomenons in informal, nonscientific writing). It’s like criteria (the plural of criterion) and automata (the plural of automaton, though automatons is also acceptable).

Also, if you don’t know if a word like, um, say, maybe normcore is a proper noun and you decide to treat it both with and without a capital letter, you look more than foolish — you look careless and a bit dim.

SEALs the deal

It looks like two people wrote this teaser on the Yahoo! front page and they couldn’t agree on the plural of SEAL:

fp seals

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.

A news source you can trust?

How many typos, misspellings, and wrong word choices does it take before you question the credibility of a news article? If the article is written by a Yahoo! News staffer, I start with an attitude of skepticism, which is buttressed by the errors that are sure to be there.

I can count on there being at least one homophonic error. In this article, the writer claims an ice sculpture was discretely wheeled into a hotel suite:

cpac 1

Unless that sculpture was delivered in bits of ice cubes, it was brought in discreetly, so as not to attract attention.

A typo in a photo caption isn’t the worst thing you’ll find in the article:

cpac 2

But a second homophonic error just might be:

cpac 3

Perhaps it’s a rite of passage at Yahoo! News: You can’t get a byline until you’ve made at least three boneheaded mistakes in a single article.

Here’s a makeshift spelling of makeshift:

cpac 4

There’s nothing wrong with this paragraph except for the arbitrarily capitalized former and the spelling of Dinesh D’Souza and Cathy McMorris Rodgers:

cpac 5

Two of those mistakes would get you sent to the woodshed in a legitimate news organization. But wait! There’s more! Here, the writer claims there was a big band consisting of 16 pieces:

cpac 7

and yet in the photo caption, he’s added a musician:

cpac 6

Perhaps the writer was enjoying the contents of the kegerator when he wrote this:

cpac 8

and then forgot that if you use a dollar sign, you shouldn’t also use the word bucks (because that would be “20 dollars bucks”):

cpac 9

So, I’m not trustin’ too much (if anything) I read from this author. I guess for some, getting an article published is all that matters:

cpac 10

You did it once

If you know to capitalize Democratic once, shouldn’t you know to capitalize it twice? Not if you work for the Yahoo! front page:

fp dem lc uc

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