What you encounter on Yahoo

Here are two things you might encounter on yahoo.com: an apparent typo and an incorrect punctuation mark:

fp enounter

Let’s relegate that to the language dumpster

Let’s relegate the use of a hyphen after an adverb ending in -LY  to the Grammar Slammer. While we’re at it, let’s make a citizen’s arrest and haul in the Yahoo! Shine writer who also thinks that delegating is the right word:

delegating shine

I had never heard (or read) anyone use delegate when relegate was the word that was called for — until I started reading Yahoo!. Relegate means “to assign to an obscure place, position, or condition.” Delegate means “to commit or entrust to another.”

Just don’t use it, part deux

Last week I urged the writers at Yahoo! to just give up on the apostrophe. They have no idea when to use it, and their sad attempts at punctuation just make them look like amateurs. Well, I’m here to urge at least one writer for yahoo.com to give the hyphen the boot. Someone has no idea when to use it, sprinkling it willy-nilly about, as if it were rice at a wedding:

fp recently-deceased clarissa

The common mistake (common throughout Yahoo!, that is) of putting a hyphen between an adverb ending in -LY and the word it modifies is almost forgivable (almost, but not completely). What’s unforgivable is throwing that horizon character in someone’s name, especially someone as well-known as Clarissa Dickson Wright. Why on God’s green earth would anyone arbitrarily hyphenate someone’s name?

Unfortunately this isn’t rarely seen

It’s a common error on yahoo.com — and throughout Yahoo! where its writers and editors lurk — but I wish it were rarely seen:

fp rarely-seen pix

That hyphen joining the adverb rarely and the adjective that follows it is a problem. It’s just unnecessary and wrong.  Just as it is here, too:

fp newly-engaged

When an adverb ending in -LY is followed by an adjective, there’s no need for the hyphen; the -LY is the signal to the reader that the adverb modifies the word that follows it.

Not rarely seen

Unfortunately, it’s an all-too-common error on Yahoo!: The use of a hyphen to join an adverb ending in -LY with the word it modifies. It’s unnecessary and it’s wrong.

It’s wrong on the Yahoo! front page:


and on Yahoo! News:

newly-elected news

and Yahoo! TV:

publicly-voted music tv

A heavily punctuated sentence

With only one hyphen too many, this sentence on the Yahoo! front page isn’t really heavily punctuated; it’s just wrong:

fp heavily-inked

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.

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.

Here’s another thing that doesn’t go so smoothly

This sentence doesn’t go so smoothly with its freakishly ungrammatical use of the adjective smooth:

A matter of hyphen death

The hyphen is suffering from a slow and painful death at the keyboards of the writers for the Yahoo! front page. Those folks have no idea when to use the little character, placing it after an adverb ending in LY:

That’s just wrong. The LY ending is the signal to the reader that the word is an adverb and therefore modifies the word that follows it.

Then there’s the case of the hyphens between a number and an abbreviated unit of measurement, which is wrong, too:

Hey, maybe they can take one of those hyphens and put it in record-setting?

A few cases of hyphen death

This could signal the death of the hyphen. So many professional writers and editors have no idea when to use a hyphen. Maybe we should just give up on the little horizontal stripe.

Just take a look at the number of hyphenation abominations the folks for yahoo.com commit in a single day.

They don’t know that you never put a hyphen after an adverb ending in LY:

and here:

They love using a hyphen to divide a word (like skintight):

But they omit the hyphen in a word like off-guard:

and brand-new:

They forget a hyphen in a number-unit of measurement combination:

They just don’t know that you don’t include a hyphen in a number-unit of measurement combination when the unit of measure is abbreviated:

and here:

If these geniuses — who are paid real money to write — can’t use a hyphen correctly what chance do the rest of us have?


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