Laying it out in black and white

Let’s lay this out in black and white for the Yahoo! Celebrity writer: If you don’t know that fiancé is an engaged man (and fiancée is an engaged woman), perhaps you should refer to the man as betrothed. Or maybe boyfriend:

simpson omg 1

If you’re using it as an adjective, then black-and-white gets two hyphens. (As a noun, it doesn’t need those hyphens.)

So, Jessica Simpson posted a black-and-white photo on Instagram. Is it any surprise that it looked like she was wearing a black and white dress? (I really don’t know how the writer could tell what color the dress was.) Repeating a word isn’t the worst mistake a writer can make, but claiming she “was laid out” makes it sound like the poor woman was prepared for a funeral, not a wedding:

simpson omg 2

Finally, the writer alleges that her hand was “placed seductively over her eyebrow.” Unless her eyebrow is somewhere on the top of her head, I think the writer made a misstatement:

simpson omg 3

Do you feel bad about your grammar?

The writer for Yahoo! Shine shouldn’t feel bad about herself for making this mistake — a lot of people (especially if they write for Yahoo!) make the same grammatical goof:

feel badly

As I’ve said before: If you’re trying to pick out a ripe peach by gently squeezing the fruit, but you’re wearing oven mitts, you might feel badly. If your emotional state is sad, depressed, anxious, or unhappy, you might feel bad.

Not exactly picture-perfect headline

The writer for Yahoo! Sports’ “Prep Rally” didn’t pull off a picture-perfect headline for a story about 5-year-olds:

picture perfect

Simpler, perfect-for-reading headlines

Sometimes I feel so lost, confused, and even dumb when reading headlines like this on Yahoo! Shine:

simper 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.

Staunchest supporter of correct English

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:

fp most staunch

I’ll give you a profanity-laced tirade

Maybe there’s a broken key on the yahoo.com writer’s keyboard — the key that would turn “profanity laced” into a compound adjective that modifies “tirade”:

fp profanity laced

That key would be a hyphen, which is used to join two words that individually can’t modify a noun.

All-star small-screen goofs

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:

all star big screen

Most funny thing you’ll read today

Is this the most funny thing you’ve ever read on the Yahoo! front page?

fp unhealthy

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.

I think I’ll get my info elsewhere

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:

cliff finance 0

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:

cliff finance 1

I might have skipped over the extra word here:

cliff finance 2

But if I had read this first, I would have stop reading then and there:

cliff finance 3

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?

This doesn’t come cheap

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:

come cheaply movies

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 759 other followers

%d bloggers like this: