‘Tis a mystery

The apostrophe is a useful little mark. It’s often used to indicate where a letter is missin’ in a contraction. So, what letter did the writer think was missing in this opening paragraph on Yahoo! Travel?

tis apost travel

Is tis’ a contraction for tisk? tisp? ‘Tis a mystery, it is.

That isn’t isn’t

You don’t need a close-up of this caption on Yahoo! News to see that one word isn’t spelled correctly and another is missing its hyphen:

inst news

I’m wont to complain and I won’t stop

Does a single little punctuation mark make a difference in a sentence? Sometimes, yes. Consider the missing apostrophe in what should be won’t on Yahoo! Sports:

wont sports hp

The word wont as a verb means “to make accustomed to” or “to be in the habit of.” The writer meant won’t, a contraction of will not.

‘Tis ’tis, ’tain’t tis’

Most people know a little something about the apostrophe. They know the apostrophe’s uses include showing possession. They know it’s also used in something called contractions — not the kind involving birthin’ babies. The kind that involves removing a letter or two from a word or words, like isn’t, we’ve, and they’re. The apostrophe shows where there’s a letter or two gone missin’. It’s helpful to your readers, except if you put it in the wrong place:

tis apost sports pr

I gotta give the writer for Yahoo! Sports’ “Prep Rally” credit for at least tryin’. But the contraction he’s looking for is ’tis — a contraction for it is.

This is the news?

This is the news, according to Yahoo! News, where correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling are strictly optional.

This is what the editors believe is correct: Capitalizing mom, even when it’s not a substitute for the woman’s name:

news mom uc

Here’s a hint: Don’t capitalize mother, father, mom, or dad unless you can substitute the person’s name and have a grammatically correct sentence. That means if the word is preceded by an adjective (even if it’s just an article like a or the), don’t capitalize it.

Correct: This is what Mom taught me.Incorrect: This is what my Mom taught me.

I don’t understand how this typo passed the scrutiny of Yahoo! News’ crackerjack editors:

christmases news

How soon we forget. In the new post-Soviet Union era, it seems we’ve forgotten how to capitalize Soviet Union:

soviet union lc news

There were either multiple bomb attacks or one bomb attack. The conclusion is left to the reader:

attacks kills news

That’s one way to get your readers’ attention: Omit the apostrophe in a contraction!

thats news

Here’s another way: Omit the apostrophe in a possessive:

news leaders

Writer shows what it’s like to be grammatically impaired

The writer for Yahoo! Sports‘ “Prep Rally” shows what it’s like to be so grammatically impaired that you don’t know a possessive pronoun (like its) from a contraction (like it’s):

its no apost sports pr

It’s its, but it should be it’s

It’s probably the most common homophonic mistake on Yahoo!. And today it’s on the Yahoo! front page:

fp its ready

I can’t believe that this is anything other than the result of carelessness or a brain fart. Surely professional writers know that the contraction for it is is it’s.

It’s unapologetic about its mistakes

The folks at Yahoo! News frequently make glaring grammatical gaffes, but seldom (if ever) apologized for them. Its unapologetic stance makes the news outlet look sloppy and ignorant.

its apost news

When a professional writer or editor uses it’s (a contraction of it is or it has) when it should use its (the possessive form of the pronoun), it’s impossible not to be judgmental.

A case of hyphen death

Grammar nerds are always bemoaning the death of the apostrophe. It seems that no one knows when to use one. But the misuse and abuse of the apostrophe pales in comparison to the treatment of the noble hyphen. And nowhere is that treatment worse than on the Yahoo! front page.

The writer manages to get one hyphen correct, but neglects to include the second:

fp 35-year old

Omitting a hyphen (or two) in an age is one of the top three hyphen errors you’ll find on Yahoo!.

Just as bad as omitting a hyphen is including one where it’s not necessary, like here:

fp 3-days

Oops. Here’s another case of a missing hyphen:

38 pound

The hyphen is needed to join 38 and pound in a compound adjective. Let’s not overlook the missing apostrophe! It’s needed to indicate the contraction of let us: let’s.

Y’all come back real soon

Hey, y’all! Did you know that y’all is a contraction for you and all? It’s common in the southeast of the U.S. So, when ya’ll showed up on Yahoo! omg!, I was pretty sure that the writer was not a Southerner:

yall omg

The contraction ya’ll — if it even exists — is short for you will.

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