Back to school for you!

Could the writer of this module on the Yahoo! front page be a college graduate? I’m not sure. I’d expect a college graduate to know that an apostrophe is required in “Parents college debt nightmare”:

fp college debt

I’d expect that a college graduate could read an article and summarize it accurately. And that’s when I realized that perhaps this writer is still in high school, struggling with understanding text written for a tenth grader. That’s how I’d explain the allegation that these parents owe a huge sum “nearly a decade after the graduation.” Since the parents have more than one daughter, I wanted to know whose graduation was a decade ago. So I read the article and learned that these folks borrowed the money a decade ago — not that their daughters graduated a decade ago.

To the writer, I’d say, stay in school and get that high school diploma. To readers of, I say don’t believe what you read.

It takes one millisecond’s time

It takes just one millisecond’s time to spot the missing apostrophe on Yahoo! News:

six years time new

An apostrophe is required in what the Associated Press Stylebook calls a quasi possessive: 6 years’ time, one week’s pay, ten years’ experience.

Kelly Rowland expecting a hermaphrodite?

Yahoo! Celebrity reveals that Kelly Rowland is expecting a hermaphrodite:

baby genders omg

While many pregnant women know their baby’s gender, she’s the first I’ve heard of who knows her baby genders.

Sill, you can’t help noticing

Sometimes, when I read something on Yahoo! Celebrity, I can’t help wondering if the writer is familiar with basic English idioms, like this:

rent 1

Actually, the Kardashians have been renting a home; the owner of the home has been renting out the home.

There are some mistakes I can overlook. Still, I can’t help noticing the typos:

rent 2

and the missing apostrophe in what should be Kardashians’:

rent 3

and at least one word too many here:

rent 4

Can you overlook errors like these?

Keeping it at arm’s length

Even if the writer for Yahoo! Beauty had used an apostrophe in the idiom “arm’s length,” I think this would still be wrong:

arms length

The idiom “arm’s length” means “a distance that physical or social contact is discouraged” (American Heritage Dictionary). So what would it mean to keep something “within arm’s length”? I think the writer meant “within easy reach.”

This is a sorry excuse for writing

I’m sorry to say it, but it’s hard to believe that this article from Yahoo! Shine was produced by a professional writer. Heck, it’s hard to believe it was written by a middle school graduate.

There are a few minor problems, like needlessly capitalizing a word. “Sorry” doesn’t get a capital letter unless it’s at the start of a sentence or you’re writing about the board game:

sorry 1

This is a sorry attempt at making a possessive out of women:

sorry 2

(To form the possessive of a plural noun not ending in S, just add an apostrophe and S: women’s, men’s, children’s.)

Things get a little sorrier with an error-filled paragraph, which includes a subject-verb mismatch (the subject study takes the verb has identified):

sorry 3

A “verbal tick” sounds like a talking, bloodsucking arachnid. If the writer meant an idiosyncratic and habitual behavior, that would be a tic. Then there’s the issue of the pronoun they, which has no antecedent. Just who is they? The rest of the sentence is just a mess. If you’re still reading that article at this point, I feel sorry for you.

Not just for car enthusiasts

I don’t usually hang around Yahoo! Autos. It’s not because I don’t like cars; it’s because I’m not really interested in reading about cars. And now that I’ve seen the home page of Autos, I think I may be mousing around there, looking for some gems for Terribly Write.

I didn’t have to look very far to see this mismatch of subject and verb. Nor to find the outdated reference to Czechoslovakia, which hasn’t existed in over 20 years:

makes czech autos

This is one of those typos that defies explanation. Wouldn’t a spell-checker have alerted the writer that parnetship isn’t really a word?

parnetship autos

I guess no one at Yahoo! knows how to use punctuation. You have to wonder why the writer didn’t think to include the apostrophe in harm’s way and why he or she thought a semicolon (and not a comma) was correct here:

harms way no apos autos

Yahoo! Autos: It’s not just for car enthusiasts.

Demonic possession

The writers at Yahoo! are having a devil of a time figuring out where to stick the apostrophe when forming a possessive.

At Yahoo! News, the writers seem to think there was more than one bomber whose friends are about to go on trial:

bombers apost news

They’re wrong. It was one bomber’s friends who requested a change of venue.

Ya’ gotta give the writer for Yahoo! Finance  credit for at least including an apostrophe, even if it’s in the wrong place:

20 years worth fin

That’s more than I can say for the writer at Yahoo! Shine, who missed the apostrophe in what should be people’s

peoples post no apost shine

and others’:

others posts no apost shine

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?


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