If you’re unsure if two words should be joined with a hyphen, just do what the editors at Yahoo! Movies do: Use a hyphen. And omit a hyphen:
Is this the most funny thing you’ve ever read on the Yahoo! front page?
Or is it the funniest thing you’ve read? If you’re at all familiar with the English language (and Yahoo! editors don’t seem to fall into that category), then you know the superlative of funny is funniest and the superlative of unhealthy is unhealthiest.
A study found that grammatical errors, misspellings, and typos affect the credibility of a website. I know that they affect my view of a writer and my confidence in the writer’s ability to write accurately. When I read this headline on Yahoo! Finance‘s “The Daily Ticker” I had a hint that the writer wasn’t going to be a trustworthy source of info:
Any writer who can’t match a verb (like looms) to its subject (like, oh, say, maybe trifecta), has a credibility problem with me.
I could have overlooked the hyphen that’s missing from last-minute when it’s used as an adjective:
I might have skipped over the extra word here:
But if I had read this first, I would have stop reading then and there:
Confusing loose and lose is on every list of Top 10 Confused Words. Any professional writer should be sensitive to the difference between those words and know which one to use.
Were there factual errors in this article? I have no idea, but I wouldn’t take financial advice from this writer. Would you?
With only one hyphen too many, this sentence on the Yahoo! front page isn’t really heavily punctuated; it’s just wrong:
A hyphen that joins an adverb ending in -LY (like heavily) with the adjective it modifies (like inked) is completely unnecessary. The -LY suffix is the signal to the reader that the adverb modifies the word that follows it.
In writing, mistakes don’t come cheap. The price you pay is your credibility and reputation. If you’re a writer for Yahoo! Movies, perhaps that’s not a priority for you; after all, you can make grammatical goofs all day long and still have a job:
The word cheap is both an adjective and an adverb. As an adverb, it’s generally used with verbs of buying and selling and follows the word it modifies. So, “talent didn’t come cheap” is correct, and the use of cheaply in that context is considered hypercorrection — the result of thinking you know so much about grammar that you make a fool of yourself in public.
How much of a subject-matter expert do you have to be to write for Yahoo! Shopping? No much. You don’t need to know that the shoe style is a slip-on (with a hyphen) or the shoe brand is Skechers (without a T):
Can we all agree that to form the plural of a proper noun ending in Y, you just add an S? So, the plural of Molly is Mollys, the plural of Bobby is Bobbys and the plural of Furby is Furbys, right? Great, then we can move right past the first error here from Yahoo! Shopping and get to the fun part:
I’ve been waiting for a toy with sounds that moved.
Some writers have a way with words. They know how to create images, how to create moods, how to create excitement. This is not one of those writers. She writes for Yahoo! Shine, which is not exactly like writing for the National Review, or even the National Enquirer.
She’s written an article about Sophia Loren, who at 78 years old is still a great beauty. And who somehow proves that beauty isn’t wasted on the young. So that means that the young make good use of beauty? Or that there are no young beauties? I actually have no idea what this is supposed to mean:
But that’s not all. Ms. Loren was attending an event with some models from the 1920s:
At least I think the apostrophe means that some numbers (like “19″) are missing. The arbitrary comma is the kind of mistake this writer often makes.
On the red carpet, all eyes were posing with actors while simultaneously focusing on Ms. Loren:
Hey, that sentence may have a misplaced modifier, but at least it had a verb. That’s more than can be said for this collection of words:
Yes, this writer has a way with words. The wrong way.
Is the Cadillac ATS or the BMW 335i the best car? Really, do you know which one is the best car in the entire universe? I don’t. I don’t even know which is the better car. But the folks on the Yahoo! front page apparently know which is the most awesomest automobile in the world:
Of course, we know something that they don’t: When you compare two things, like cars, you use the comparative of an adjective, not the superlative. The superlative is reserved for comparing three or more things. For the adjective good, the comparative is better, the superlative is best. We are wicked smart and know that the correct question is: Which is better? It clearly shows that you’re comparing two cars, and not every car in the world.
Here’s a little ditty I learned from my mother many decades ago. I still use it to remind myself of the comparative forms of good:
Good, better, best
Never let it rest,
Until your good is better
And your better is best.
Please ignore what you read on Yahoo! Movies: We were not written by Terence Winter. Rather, this sentence, which was written by a Yahoo! person, has a misplaced modifier:
We would expect nothing short of embarrassing gaffes from Yahoo!, including one that elicits smirks. At least the writers aren’t engaging in illicit behavior (as far as we know). They are, however, engaging in grammatical assaults with this claim that both Mr. DiCaprio and Ms. Lumley play the same characters in an upcoming film:
(To indicate that the actors’ characters are different, the writer should have added a little apostrophe and S to DiCaprio.)