The writer for Yahoo! Sports’ “Prep Rally” didn’t pull off a picture-perfect headline for a story about 5-year-olds:
Sometimes I feel so lost, confused, and even dumb when reading headlines like this on Yahoo! Shine:
Am I supposed to simper — smile in a silly, self-conscious, and coy manner — because it’s perfect for fall sandwiches? Frankly, simpering doesn’t improve my Dagwood one bit. And when I’m not in the mood for a Dagwood Bumstead special, I’ll be looking for recipes for simpler, perfect-for-fall sandwiches.
I am one of the staunchest supporters of correct English. I hate it when a writer doesn’t know how to form the superlative of an adjective, like this on the Yahoo! front page:
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?
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):
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.