Slacker’s guide to proofreading

If you’re still thinking you can get away without proofreading everything you’ve written (OK, so maybe you don’t need to proof your shopping list), that’s just what the writer for Yahoo! Shine thought. She was wrong:

your still wearing shine hp

3 signs you’re in the wrong job

If you’re an editor for Yahoo! Shine, you may be in the wrong job. Here are just three signs from the Shine home page that should have you considering a career change.

The first sign that perhaps you’re not cut out for writing or editing is your inability to match a verb with its subject:

need shine hp


Another sign that should have you questioning your role: You think this is how to show the decade known as the ’80s:

80s shine hp


And the third sign you’re in the wrong job? You can’t tell the difference between a possessive pronoun (like your, meaning “belonging to you”) and a contraction (like you’re, meaning “you are”):

your shine hp

You look like a fool if your not careful

You’re not going to believe this headline from Yahoo! News‘ “Who Knew?”

your who knew

Is it just a careless error, or does the writer really not know the difference between the possessive pronoun your and the contraction you’re?

Everyone needs an editor

If your first sentence in your first paragraph contains these errors, shouldn’t you think about hanging up your keyboard?

way 1

If you don’t know the difference between a contraction (like you’re) and a possessive pronoun (like your), you don’t know enough to hyphenate a compound modifier (like Oscar-winning), you match a hyphen (which should be an em-dash) with a comma (which also should be an em-dash), you omit words, you hyphenate seaside, and you can’t spell Steve Carell, should you call it quits?

Not if you’re a writer for Yahoo! Movies. And not if you’ve been writing for years for well-respected publications like The New York Times Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, More, Interview Magazine, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Cosmopolitan and Self. Those are publications with standards higher that Yahoo!’s. You’d never find that many egregious mistakes in an entire article, much less an opening paragraph. What gives?


A writer for print publications is used to the support of competent editors. At Yahoo!, this writer’s words are published — gross mistakes and all — without benefit of editing.

That paragraph isn’t an anomaly. The article continues with a total miss at AnnaSophia Robb and 14-year-old:

way 2

There’s the reality nit-picky double double-quotes and the typoed tween:

way 3

And to prove that this so-called movie critic has no idea that she doesn’t know how to spell Steve Carell’s name, she screws it up three more times here:

way 4

and here:

way 5

and here:

way 6

Would you expect to see something of this quality in a legitimate news source or magazine? No, because those publications employ editors. And this writer is obviously dependent on them.

This ensures you’re remembered

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.

If you’re a fan of grammar, don’t read this

If you’re a fan of grammar, you don’t want to read this headline from Yahoo! News’ “Who Knew?”:

Hoarding errors

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:

Your kidding

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:

and here:

Maybe you’re not kidding, but this is a joke.

Next time, say no

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.”

You’re looking at it

Whether you’re looking for a mistake or not, you’re bound to find one on Yahoo! Shine:


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