Make no mistake: The writers for Yahoo! are not mathematical geniuses. Second-grade arithmetic eludes them. Basic geometry is beyond their understanding. And percentages confuse them. But I would have thought that they could at least count:
We here at Terribly Write award the writer and/or editor for the Yahoo! front page a big fat A for correctly hyphenating 190-square-foot apartment. However, the hyphens in 190-sq-ft home knock the overall grade down to a big fat F:
A professional writer or editor should know that a number followed by an abbreviation is always unhyphenated.
Well, hello, Miss Steele.
That’s the way this opening on Yahoo! Movies should have been punctuated if you’re an old-school punctuationist:
That’s not the only punctuation problem in this excerpt: There’s the period outside the quotation marks (in the U.S., it goes before the closing quote) and the missing hyphen in 23-year-old. And while we’re talking errors, how about that extra word in “attended to”? Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith attended the premiere of “Don Johnson.” I wonder if it’s anything like the recently premiered “Don Jon.”
If you’re an editor for Yahoo! Shine, you may be in the wrong job. Here are just three signs from the Shine home page that should have you considering a career change.
The first sign that perhaps you’re not cut out for writing or editing is your inability to match a verb with its subject:
Another sign that should have you questioning your role: You think this is how to show the decade known as the ’80s:
And the third sign you’re in the wrong job? You can’t tell the difference between a possessive pronoun (like your, meaning “belonging to you”) and a contraction (like you’re, meaning “you are”):
Just when did Selena Gomez start drinking so heavily that she ended up with a hangover? Apparently it was on her 20th birthday, if you believe Yahoo! omg!:
Of course, if you believe anything you read by a Yahoo! staffer, you’re naive or gullible. Or you just haven’t been reading Terribly Write. The truth: Ms. Gomez just turned 21. That means she is starting her 22nd year, not her 21st. Yahoo! writers have never been good at basic arithmetic.
In an article about former astronaut Mae Jemison, the Yahoo! Shine writer manages to misspell her name. But that’s not the only word she has trouble spelling:
Jemison served in the Peace Corps (corp is an abbreviation for corporation). She is an African American (which is spelled — this time — sans hyphen). She was a science mission specialist (which doesn’t require capital letters) on the Endeavour (a spelling that is more common in Great Britain than in the U.S.).
Apparently the writer thinks she knows how to spell the name of the shuttle, because she misspelled it again. I guess we shouldn’t expect her to notice a missing word, or to be consistent about writing African American (this time she’s hyphenated it), or realize that astronaut program isn’t a proper noun:
Perhaps that’s the best she can do. Perhaps she brought all her talents to bear and still produced content that would embarrass the editor of a high school newspaper:
So, she doesn’t know when to use bare and when to use bear. No biggie. A lot of people have that problem (especially if they write for Yahoo!). But couldn’t she see the double will? Couldn’t she try to be consistent? (Now astronaut program is devoid of capitals.) The rest of that paragraph is a real mystery to me. Grammatically speaking, she doesn’t seem able to match a verb (which should be exist) with its subject (which is capabilities). And most house styles would recommend that a number greater than nine be written in numerals. But I quibble.
An article on Yahoo! Shine about women’s body hair presented some hairy problems for the writer — most notably when it came to writing numbers:
The writer has no clue how to write an age or a span of ages. It should be “18- to 24-year-olds” (or “those 18 to 24 years old”). And she doesn’t know that fractions, when written out, require a hyphen, like this: two-thirds.
The plural of the abbreviation STD is STDs. Notice the lack of an apostrophe. Except here, of course:
You might wonder why the writer changed the subject from women’s body hair to women showing off their muscular pits and legs. (And just how does one get a burly armpit?)
I don’t think the writer meant to change the subject. I believe she’s so vocabulary-challenged that she thinks that burly means hairy or unshaven. Normally, I advise writers with limited vocabularies not to try to stretch them by using big words that aren’t part of their everyday speech. But I never, ever would have predicted that any professional writer — even one who worked for Yahoo! — didn’t know what burly meant.
I used to think that Yahoo!’s writers were no good at math. In fact, I thought they sucked at even the most basic arithmetic. After reading this on Yahoo! Movies I’ve done a complete 360:
Yes, I still believe they suck at math. I also think they suck at spelling the names of celebs, like Ron Perlman.
Just in case you didn’t read yahoo.com on Tuesday, here’s some of the funnies you missed.
An ugly typo:
A missing zero:
And an ambiguous spelling of road trip: