A dollar’s worth of punctuation

If you’re going to make a mistake in your writing, don’t make it in a headline. It just makes things worse, like this omission on Yahoo! News:

dollars worth news 2

What’s missing? An apostrophe in what should be “thousands of dollars’ worth.”

Is there more than one Batman?

Just how many Batmans (or is it Batmen?) return? That’s the question I’m left with after reading this on the Yahoo! front page:

fp batmans return

Actually, there’s only one Batman, and the film is about Batman’s return.

Think punctuation doesn’t matter?

And bad days sit around doing nothing

Good days work. Bad days don’t. What does that have to do with the talks surrounding the situation in Ukraine? You’d have to ask the writer for Yahoo! News responsible for this:

good days work news

OK, so we all know that the writer meant: Good day’s work. That’s what the Associated Press calls a quasi possessive. Other examples include: three years’ experience, two weeks’ pay, and a good night’s rest.

Authoress’s claim

I don’t know what happened to the S that supposed to be on the Yahoo! front page. Maybe it slipped out when no one was looking. If someone had seen it, I wonder what the witness’s claim would be:

fp witness claim

I bet the writer thinks that’s correct: That you form the possessive of a singular, common noun ending in S by adding just an apostrophe. A lot of authorities, including the Associated Press and the Chicago Manual of Style, would disagree. They say that the plural of a singular, common noun ending in S requires an apostrophe and an S. The only exception AP makes is when the possessive is followed by a word that starts with S, because the would be just too many S’s (so, it’s witness’s claim, but witness’ story).

Editor’s quick thinking saves headline

If only it were true. If only an editor had read this headline on Yahoo! Shine before it was published it might have included an apostrophe (for teens’) and the correct verb:

teens quick thinking shine

The writers’ age factor

Just what is the writers’ age factor (besides being an extremely awkward phrase)? Does a writer’s age have an influence on the quality of his or her writing? There’s lots of anecdotal evidence that those who graduated from high school in the last twenty years don’t have the same writing skills as their parents.  Is the writer for the Yahoo! front page — who forgot about a little apostrophe — one of those recent high school grads?

fp enrollees age

Grammar police mocks missing letter

Oh, dear. It looks like the writers or editors or interns for Yahoo! Shine still don’t know how to form the possessive of a common noun ending in S:

actress apos poss shine

It’s pretty simple: For a singular common noun ending in S (like, oh, say, maybe actress), add an apostrophe and an S.

What’s this business missing?

What the heck?! Why would a professional writer or editor for Yahoo! News think that the possessive of business doesn’t need an S after the apostrophe?


The possessive of business is business’s. I’ll be charitable and speculate that the writer is a tad confused about the possessive of words ending in S. For singular common nouns, like business, add an apostrophe and an S for the possessive. If the noun is a proper noun ending in S (like Charles, Jones, or Doofus), follow the house style. Some style guides insist that you add an apostrophe and an S; some, just an apostrophe. Of course, there is no house style at Yahoo!, so for proper nouns ending in S, you’ll see both forms used.

How to be possessive

It’s not often you see a missing apostrophe in a place as prominent as yahoo.com. But it’s there (or rather, not there) today:

fp parents

If those resourceful kids sold the house belonging to one parent, it was their parent’s house; if it belong to both parents, it was their parents’ house.

Oxygen deprived?

Can oxygen deprivation cause grammatical errors? That’s the question on my mind when I read this excerpt from Yahoo! Shine:


There has to be some explanation for that quotation mark without a match. Some reason the writer thinks the possessive of company is companies. (It’s not; it’s company’s.) Some rationale for using the contraction it’s (which means “it is” or “it has”) instead of the correct its. Some clarification for the missing is in what should be “is loaded.” Some justification for not using a spell-checker to catch the obviously misspelled vitamins.

I can’t think of any reason for these gaffes. Can you?


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