Whom just seems wrong

If you’re a conscientious writer who strives to be grammatically correct 100 percent of the time, but you still struggle with choosing between who and whom, take my advice: Choose who. If you’re wrong, 90 percent of your readers won’t know it and the rest won’t care. If you choose whom, you might be correct, but your writing will sound pretentious and stilted. And if you’re wrong, you might be mistaken for a writer for Yahoo! Shine:

whom had work shine

Could that sound any uglier? The correct word happens to be who, because the pronoun is the subject of the verb had. The pronoun who is the subjective case (and hence, the subject of verbs); whom is the objective case (and the object of verbs or prepositions).

Something I’ve never seen before. Almost

Here’s an unusual mistake on the Yahoo! front page:

fp of her

It’s unusual because everyone I know would use the reflexive pronoun herself in that sentence: She took a photo of herself. Most people have no idea why the reflexive is correct; they just know when to use it.

The reflexive pronouns all end in self or selves: myself, yourself, herself, ourselves and so on. You use it when someone does something to himself or herself (see what I did there?).

The only other time I’ve seen a non-reflexive pronoun used instead of the correct reflexive pronoun has been on … Wait for it… The Yahoo! front page:

fp her for herself

I wonder if the same person wrote both those sentences. And I wonder if that person’s native language is English. I’m guessin’ it isn’t.

Maybe Mitt Romney was right

When Mitt Romney claimed during his bid for the presidency that “corporations are people, too,” he was met with derision. But he may have been right, if you believe what you read on the Yahoo! front page:

fp who for that

The pronoun who is reserved for human beings. Is yahoo.com alleging that companies are people? Or did the writer fail to realize that the correct pronoun is that?

What’s wrong with her?

If you believe what you read on yahoo.com (and why would you?), then Charlize Theron’s outfit is the same as Anna Kendrick — not Anna Kendrick’s outfit, but Anna Kendrick herself:

fp her

Now, if Ms. Theron was in the same outfit as hers, then that would be a whole ‘nother thing. That would mean both women were in the same outfit.

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.

He and his wife’s decision is wrong

Is there anyone in the English-speaking world (besides the writer for Yahoo! TV) who thinks this is correct?

he and his wife tv

I have no explanation for why the writer would think he is correct, unless the writer is a fourth-grade dropout. Anyhoo, the correct phrase would be “his and his wife’s decision,” which is a bit awkward. I’d probably suggest a rewrite: the decision he and his wife made…

Depends on whom you ask

How many errors have there been on Yahoo! News? Hundreds? Thousands? I don’t really know and I don’t think there is anyone to tell the tale of homophonic errors, like this one:

tail news

Is this correct? It depends on whom you ask. A Yahoo! writer and editor would think that who is the correct pronoun and have their been is really cool:

who you ask news

Well, there have been many, many errors on Yahoo! News. And these are just a few more.

He should return to him grammar books

This isn’t the worst typo you’ll see on Yahoo! Movies; it just struck me as funny:

returns to him movies

Ack! It’s Auckland!

Ack! Someone at Yahoo! Shine misspelled Auckland. And that’s not all! There’s the incorrect whom. It should be who because it’s the subject of the verb, which is either was or wasn’t.

ackland whom

As for the abbreviation a.k.a (for “also known as”), the Associated Press style is without periods (aka), while the American Heritage Dictionary’s style is AKA.

What helped he learn grammar?

Was it an English teacher in high school? An editor for the college paper? An English as a Second Language instructor? Who helped the writer for Yahoo! Sports learn grammar? And how can we stop that person?

helped he sports

This is what is sometimes called hypercorrection: The use of a word that sounds more intelligent, sophisticated, or erudite to the writer, but is actually incorrect. The correct word is him; it is the direct object of the verb helped and therefore the objective case is called for.

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