What are the odds?

What are the odds that a professional writer would use its and mean it’s and use it’s and mean its? If that writer works for Yahoo! DIY, pretty good:

its w wo apos diy

Why not thinking out of the box

It looks like the elementary school crowd has taken over the writing of this article on Yahoo! DIY. How else would you explain the verb gets with an apostrophe? Or the use of it’s instead of its? Did we all master that by the time we were 12? And I’m still trying to figure out how an editor would fix the last sentence here:

gets its apos diy

Is it “Warm gatherings … call for” or “A warm gathering… calls for”? Anyone?

Sometimes when you’re trying to write something creative, you have to think out of the box. But not this far out of the box:

gets its apos diy 2

There’s that apostrophe again, used to form a plural this time. And for the third time in a single article, it’s wrong. Never has a little punctuation mark done so much and been so wrong.

It’s one of those errors

It’s one of the most common errors careless writers make. And it’s on Yahoo! Style — it a headline:

its apos style

Does anyone need an explanation of why this is wrong? I didn’t think so.

It just goes from bad to more bad

This headline was my first indication that the article on Yahoo! Style was not going to go well:

ed pick 1

The new ’60s-inspired pieces you need now? I think they involve a correctly placed an apostrophe (which shouldn’t be used to form the plural) and a hyphen.

Things only got worse. It’s hard to imagine what went through the writer’s mind when she pounded out this:

ed pick 2

It’s pretty clear that makes and reminds should be make and remind (because their subject is surfboards) and that summer isn’t a proper noun. But what could be wrong with wool sweater? The answer lies in the handy caption for the sweater that the writer provided:

ed pick 3

WTF? How did the writer screw up that badly? It’s a freakin’ linen sweater, not a wool one!

This writer is just obsessed with wool sweaters, to the point of lying about the actual material of her recommendations:

ed pick 4

First, let’s look at the helpful information the writer supplied because the alleged black stripe is actually navy:

ed pick 5

And is it mohair? Of course not! It’s nylon and acrylic. The writer just likes to make up her own little facts.

Do you know how difficult it is to find the correct spelling of gray? Luckily you don’t have to. In the U.S., it gets an A; in other English-speaking countries, the preferred spelling is grey:

ed pick 55

Again the writer proves that she’s grammatically challenged, unable to identify a plural subject (shape and color) and match it to a verb (which should be are).

When not making up information about sweaters, the writer likes to be creative about pants:

ed pick 6

What could possible wrong with that? The pattern is called dogtooth and the pants aren’t cropped, even though the writer just can’t let go of the whole crop pants thing:

ed pick 7

Geez. This just keeps getting worse. There’s a missing hyphen in must-have, fall is capitalized erroneously, and this sentence makes no sense:

ed pick 8

I don’t know what this means nor what FW means:

ed pick 9

Think it can’t get worse? Think again:

ed pick 85

The handbag is not made from box leather; it’s a leather box bag.And it was seen from a lot of famous people.

I have to keep reminding myself that this article was written by a professional writer, someone who is actually paid real money to write this crap:

ed pick 10

That’s someone who doesn’t know the difference between its and it’s. Who doesn’t know to end a sentence with a period (a comma just won’t do) and stick a hyphen in cat-eye.

It started off with a mistake and just kept piling ‘em on. It went from bad to more bad and more bad.

It’s its, but it should be it’s

In spite of the fact that it’s the number 1 error in Terribly Write’s “Commonly Confused Words,” I don’t believe that professional writers don’t know the difference between its and it’s. I think that the writers for yahoo.com are just really careless:

fjp its no apos

For readers who are just learning English, let’s review: its is the possessive for of it; it’s is a contraction for it is or it has. It’s not hard.

Check out this

So, how did Yahoo! Answers get its name? Is it the result of consumer research? I really don’t know, but I do know that it’s not the best-written site on Yahoo!. Check out the mistakes in this one little paragraph, which include a contraction (it’s) instead of a possessive pronoun (its) and a noun (checkout) instead of a phrasal verb (check out):

bluetooth answers

Apostrophes: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em

Apostrophes. No one knows what the heck to do with them. They get thrown in where they don’t belong, like this plural on Yahoo! Sports:

governors apost sports

and this one on Yahoo! Movies:

1980s apost movies

and this possessive pronoun in Yahoo! Shine:

its own apost shine hp

And it’s confusing when they’re  forgotten in contractions like this, also from Yahoo! Sports:

its built no apost sports pr

and this from Yahoo! Answers:

lets no apos ans

Apostrophes. Let’s just do away with them entirely.

It’s hard to do worse than this

When it comes to its treatment of the English language, it’s hard to do worse than Yahoo! Shine. In just seven words the writer manages to omit two words and misspell one:

when it comes its shine

I wish I could call it a compliment

Yahoo! News is the armpit of online media. That’s not a compliment. It’s just a reaction I had to this made-up word that appears in a very large headline on the site:

nj 1

Residents of New Jersey are New Jerseyans or New Jerseyites.

So, OK, the writer made up a word. Is that worse than making up rules for the use of the comma, and randomly sprinkling that punctuation in a sentence?

nj 2

Probably not. It’s not worse than this:

nj 3

If you’re trying to be sarcastic, you have to be scrupulous in your use of language; otherwise, readers will think your sarcasm is just one more careless or ignorant mistake. This attempt at sarcasm fails because the writer doesn’t know the difference between it’s (for “it is” or “it has”) and the possessive its. If the writer had mentioned that the state is famous for its even-keeled, milquetoast residents, then it might have been seen as an attempt at humor.

It’s hard not to cringe

It’s hard not to cringe when you read something as poorly written as this article on Yahoo! Shine. From the typos and the writer’s imaginative spelling of Rutgers, it has a lot to offer the discerning reader:

email 1

She writes about an author whose most recent book is “The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet…” using who’s (which means “who is” or “who has”) and getting the title wrong:

email 2

I’d tell the writer to learn to proofread, or if you don’t have time, get someone to do it for you. It would be helpful to you for your career:

email 3

It’s time she learn the difference between a possessive pronoun (like its) and a contraction (like it’s):

email 4

If she learned to proofread, she could send an email and post something on a social media site without typos and missing words:

email 5

She might also learn to check her articles after they’ve been published to ensure she hasn’t omitted vital information, like the text of a tweet:

email 6

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