We are unlikely to forget this from Yahoo! News’ “Who Knew”:
A misspelling of Lady Gaga and the typo or for our might fade from our collective memories. But a homophonic horror ensures you’re remembered.
When you find a horrific homophonic error in the second sentence of an article, perhaps you should take it as a sign to stop reading. That’s the advice I’d give to anyone who ventures into the world of Yahoo! Shine. The hordes of people who stumble on this article will be disappointed:
In a serious article about a tragic incident, the writer gets careless with an extra word here:
and some very mixed up words there:
I think I know what you’re feeling about this common error: Depression. Fear for the future of the English language.
And this little mistake isn’t going to make you feel any better:
You’re kidding, right? You’re the writer for Yahoo! Shine and you don’t know the difference between you’re and your? You have a 50-50 chance of picking the correct word and you get it wrong three times? Here:
Maybe you’re not kidding, but this is a joke.
I’m feeling sorry for this writer. I imagine this poor guy being told to write a blog post for Yahoo! Answers, and he’s unsure of his writing ability, but he gives it his best effort. So, I feel kinda like a bully pointing out something that could use “improvement.” Like this unnecessary description of a cliché as “common.” That’s the meaning of the word, isn’t it?
And the poor writer probably doesn’t have the benefit of a high school education. It’s almost understandable that he’d write their instead of they’re and your instead of you’re. And why should he know where to put a question mark?
So, the next time he’s asked to write something more complex than a grocery list, I’d advise him to say, “Thanks, but no.”
Whether you’re looking for a mistake or not, you’re bound to find one on Yahoo! Shine:
What does it take to be a writer for Yahoo! Shine? The ability to spell? Knowledge of grammar? Punctuation proficiency? No. No. And no. You don’t need to know how to spell cuckoo. Phonetic spelling, even when wrong, is sufficient:
Do you need a commitment to quality? Nope. You don’t even need to check out what you’ve written to make sure it fits in the space you’ve got:
Do you need to fact-check? Not at all. You can actually make up “facts” like calling the Web site Stylelist Home something else. Do you need an extensive vocabulary? Nah. If you don’t know the difference between a stockroom and a showroom, just use either one and spell it anyway you want.
Do you need to be creative? Not at all. The errors you make (and if you’re a true Yahoo! writer, you’ll make many) don’t have to be brand-new: a missing hyphen, a lowercase internet, and a mismatch of a verb with its plural subject — they’re all acceptable:
Carefree about caps? Good for you! You’ll fit right in with the other writers who will capitalize a common noun just because it looks like the name of a country:
Love hitting that Space bar on your keyboard to create two words out of one? Then apply now!
Knowledge of the spelling of waterbed not required. And it’s perfectly fine to drop off the apostrophe in ’80s and the hyphen in accident-prone. And if you think that Dramamine is a prescription drug (and not an over-the-counter one) that isn’t a trademark, no problem!
If you make up the spelling of other products like Tempur-Pedic and Sleep Number, you too can be a Yahoo!er.
If you think highbrow needs a hyphen, not to worry. It’s unimportant:
Too young to know that the old-fashioned desk was a roll-top? Too lazy to Google it? You’re hired!
Do you lack an appreciation of homophonic differences? Do you fail to check what you written to avoid jumbled messes? OK, then! Yahoo! may be the perfect fit for you.
If you don’t care about quality, if you don’t take pride in your work, you may have what it takes to write for Yahoo!.
A totally unscientific study conducted by Terribly Write has found that your writing reveals a lot about your personality. Based on an analysis of a single article on Yahoo! Shine, the study’s author concludes that the words you use and your attention to grammar and spelling can disclose personality traits and quirks. How many of these apply to you?
You don’t capitalize proper nouns: You’re a free spirit, unencumbered by the chains of grammar, unfettered by the need to recognize proper nouns with a touch of the Shift key:
You can’t distinguish between homophones: You cling to the principle that words don’t matter, that if two words are pronounced the same, then either one will do:
You overlook small typos: You believe that the smaller the word, the less important it is to communication; one indefinite article is as good as another;
You really, really don’t capitalize proper nouns: You’re a go-getter who doesn’t waste time holding down the Shift key. You have places to go! Words to mangle!
Your writing contains strings of words with no discernible meaning: You’re unconcerned about your image and the effect your mistakes have on others. “Who cares if it makes no sense!” is your personal mantra:
You really have trouble with homophones and hyphens: Despite your good intentions, you often make mistakes, whether it’s using the wrong word or omitting hyphens:
You can’t match a subject to a verb: These types of people are crowd-pleasers, who make mistakes, even if by doing so they sound a bit illiterate. Self-expression outweighs the need to avoid typos:
You ignore punctuation: You’re laid-back with a fondness for vintage abbreviations like M.D. and a disregard of correctly punctuating book titles:
You use random capital letters: You’re a fun-loving prankster who likes to play practical jokes on your readers by using capital letters indiscriminately:
You omit words: You think your readers are too stupid to notice you’ve omitted a word, but not this time, buddy:
Does this sound like you? If so, you, too, could get a job as a writer for Yahoo!.
Was the writer for Yahoo! Shine dipping into the Chick Beer before she sat down at the keyboard? That could explain the misspelled curlicue, silhouette, and technique:
Perhaps she was a bit tipsy when she decided that palate (which means “the roof of a mouth” or “a sense of taste”) was the correct word instead of palette (which refers to colors):
Is this evidence of more alcohol-fueled typing? A six-pack deserves a hyphen when it’s used as a modifier, you’re is just laughingly wrong, and there’s two commas missing (to set off liquor industry):
My advice to the writer? Next time, wait a bit after imbibing before you try to type; otherwise, you just end up looking like an idiot.
Don’t mean to rain on the writer’s parade, but this article from Yahoo! TV‘s “Primetime in No Time” contains a few errors, including a missing apostrophe:
… as well as an incorrect plural and cap (the plural of mom is moms — no apostrophe required). The question mark, without question, should be a period. Did I mention the homophonic error? That you’re Mom should be your mom. As much as you love your mom, if the word is preceded by your, it doesn’t get a capital letter:
The rule applies to other relatives, too. If they’re preceded by a modifier like good or my, then dad, mother, and father shouldn’t be capitalized: