What’s going on at Yahoo?

There’s something really weird going on at yahoo.com. The number of bone-headed mistakes on that page has exploded. Is it a new writing staff? A bunch of interns hired for the summer? Outsourcing to a non-English-speaking country? Here’s just some of the things spotted on today’s Yahoo! front page.

If the marathon you’re writing about is in Boston, it’s the Boston Marathon (with a big M). That’s not the only thing I’d quibble about, though. I can’t say I agree with the statement that “retrievers are used to distract” people. There are many, many documented benefits to petting a dog, including lowering blood pressure:

fp marathon

Here’s a use of chide that’s new to me: It’s used as a transitive verb (meaning it has a direct object, in this case decision), so it means “to reprimand or scold mildly.” I don’t think anyone was chiding the decision — the person who made the decision, maybe was chided.

fp chided

Ah, the old subject-verb disagreement. There can’t be any disagreement that the subject is tenor and the verb should be is. Also, there’s that dangling modifier at the beginning of the sentence, which appears to modify tenor (which makes no sense), though it likely should modify the writing on the boat:

fp tenor are

OK, here’s a mystery for you: What was Iran stockpiling? Government cheese? This doesn’t contain a grammatical or spelling error. This is what is known as an error of omission: It tells you nothing.

fp stockpile

I almost spit out my sugar-free, nonfat vanilla latte when I read this:

fp cafe

The name of that café is a mouthful, n’est-ce pas? The hilarity continues when you realize that the poor French-challenged writer has mashed up Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots.

If you’re reading something online right now (and I think you are), then according to Yahoo!, that is the reason you procrastinate. It is not what you do when you procrastinate, it is the cause of the procrastination. Good to know.

fp procrastinate

Here’s one you can disagree with, but according to the American Heritage Dictionary, the preferred spelling in the U.S. is disk:

fp disc

And we’re back to that old bugaboo — matching a subject (series) with its verb (hint: it shouldn’t be show):

fp series show

Finally, there’s another preferred spelling: light-years (with a hyphen):

fp light years

Whew! That’s all for now. And by that I mean, I’m going to go get two Advils and lie down.

Is your writing bulletproof?

Is your writing bulletproof and impervious to criticism? If you’re a writer for yahoo.com, the answer is probably “Heck no!” You probably didn’t notice when you wrote this that you implied that armed men were from a chapel and that a church spoke:

fp bullet proof

You might want to reconsider the placement of those prepositional phrases.

Boston’s City Hall Plaza unveiled!

Boston’s City Hall Plaza, which was unveiled Friday, featured a tribute to Celtics legend Bill Russell. At least that’s what it says on Yahoo! Sports:

unveiled sports

Why would you think that?

Why did the writer for Yahoo! Movies think this is a question?

quest mark rom com movies hp

Was it the same Yahoo! Movies writer who thought this made sense?

wahlbergs movies

Was it the same Yahoo! Movies scribe responsible for this?

dozen reason movies

Was it the same Yahoo! Movies writer who would have us believe that Sophie Nelisse is based on some bestseller?

mispl mod movies

I’m embarrassed for this writer

Sometimes there are so many egregious errors in a single module on the Yahoo! front page that I am actually embarrassed for the writer (and the editor, if there was one). This is one of those times:

fp millenials

The misspelled Millennials first caught my eye. Then it was the uncapitalized mom and dad that made me shudder. (If the writer had used “their mom and dad,” the lowercase letters would be correct.) And finally the misplaced phrase “the highest rate …” which makes no sense where it is. Awkward!

How droopy is your jaw?

Why is it so difficult for Yahoo!’s writers to spell Comic-Con with a hyphen? It seems easy enough, doesn’t it? But this headline on Yahoo! Movies proves otherwise:

droopingly 1

The headline promising five “surprises” and the first paragraph promises seven “favorite things.” So, there’s a bit of confusion, although the writer put the hyphen in Comic-Con — this time:

droopingly 2

It was too good to last. Again, the writer dropped a hyphen. Maybe his brain was affected by that drooping jaw:

droopingly 15

Does the writer have any other jaw-droppingly dumb things to share? Of course!

droopingly 3

No article from Yahoo! Movies would be complete without at least one misspelled celeb name. This time we get two: Bryan Cranston and Chris Hardwick. I’m guessin’ that Mr. Cranston, and not Mr. Harwick (or Hardwick), is  starring in an upcoming film. But that’s not what that sentence tells us. (Oh, by the way, that was the fifth and last “surprise” from Comic-Con. Maybe the headline writer can count.)

Ya’ gotta admire the creativity

Sometimes the number and variety of errors made by a professional writer are so enormous that I just have to admire the creativity that must have gone into producing them. The result includes some errors I’ve never seen before as well as the usual, garden variety gaffes we find every day on Yahoo! Shine.

Of course, those gaffes include the misplaced comma (in the U.S., it goes before the closing quotation mark), the mismatched subject and verb (feature should be features), and an unnecessary comma:

monster 1

No article on Shine would be complete without a misspelled name (that should be Nefera de Nile) and a misplaced modifier:

monster 2

Just so that you’re absotutely, posilively sure you know that a quote is coming from Cathy Cline, the writer repeats that info. Normally, a writer gives the titles of movies and TV shows some sort of special treatment, like italic or quotation marks.  Not this writer! That stuff’s for writers who don’t trust their readers to know a title from their elbow. With thinking like that (and an extra word or two), this writer is going to become super-successful:

monster 3

Here’s one of those errors I’ve never seen before: the possessive of the plural dolls. I guess this gal didn’t know if the apostrophe goes before or after the S, so she put it both before and after. Clever, no? She’s also unfamiliar with the correct handling of quotes within quotations. The inner quoted material should be surrounded by single quotation marks, not double. That’s one punctuation rule that seems to have eluded our writer. And the difference between allude (which means “to refer to”) and elude (which means “to escape or evade”) has definitely eluded her. She’s also not too good with copying information. If she had just used Copy and Paste commands on the Barbie website, she wouldn’t have to rely on her faulty memory. There’s no Sleepover Barbie. It’s Slumber Party Barbie. Oh, and that comma doesn’t belong there:

monster 4

Wowser. I was willing to let the whole dolls’s thing slide as a simple typo until I saw this:

monster 5

This writer is really struggling with English. She’s got a real problem with pronouns. The antecedent of the pronoun they appears to missing. Did she think that it could possibly refer to company, which in the U.S. is singular?

It’s no surprise that the writer throws in another extraneous comma; gives up on trying to form the possessive of dolls, and instead goes for the possessive of the singular doll, even though the sentence requires the plural; and puts a hyphen in oversized:

monster 6

Old errors, new errors. This article has some of everything. Unfortunately.

How did he do that?

It’s a bit difficult to imagine how a player could rush toward the sideline while conducting an interview, but according to Yahoo! Sports‘ “Prep Rally,” that’s what he did:

while conducting sports pr

How does it shave?

Silly me. A shotgun with a huge beard obviously doesn’t shave:

beard

From Yahoo! Sports‘ “Prep Rally.”

At least they spelled Hillary Clinton correctly

There’s not much to positive to say about this article on Yahoo! Shine. But I give the writer props for spelling Hillary Clinton’s name correctly. But I gotta take off points for the expression “in that time” when it doesn’t refer to an actual time period. (The writer meant “since that time.”)

hc twit 1

Any professional writer should know that the idiom is not “baited breath,” unless it involves earthworms. The idiom is “bated breath,” meaning “reduced or lessened breath” or a state of almost stopping breathing as a result of a strong emotion like fear.

No shots to the head here, and no headshots, which is what the writer meant:

hc twit 2

I don’t believe it was Ms. Clinton’s BlackBerry that went viral, but a picture of her with a BlackBerry.

Twitter followers are usually of the human type:

hc twit 3

Don’t you wonder if someone has people followers, what other kind of followers they also have? I know I do.

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