Amongst your words, that is the most pretentious

The new site Yahoo! Style may be setting some records in the number and severity of errors that it displays every day. These errors from a recent article are among the most amateurish on the site:

font style 1

The word amongst is a synonym for among. Is it wrong? Not exactly, but it’s just not as common in the U.S. as it is in other English-speaking countries. And Americans aren’t all that fond of the word. The OxfordWords blog sums up the sentiment of many Americans:

[M]any authorities (such as Garner’s Modern American Usage) and language blogs state that, in US English, amongst is now seen as old-fashioned, and even ‘pretentious’. If you are a US English speaker, therefore, and you don’t want to come across to your audience as out of date or, heaven forbid, linguistically la-di-da, then it’s advisable to opt for among.

As for the other error in that paragraph, I believe there’s a mismatch between the subject designer and the verb, which should be tells. I can’t be sure since there appears to be some extra words, but I think the writer promises to let us know what the designer is listening to. That is simply a lie. The interview that follows does not include any such info.

The interviewer was clearly in the dark about Josef Albers’ “Interaction of Color,” which is a book. The designer was also influenced by the Blaschkas, a father and son, and not just one misspelled person:

font style 2

It would have been nice (and expected from a real site with any integrity) to check the references made by the person being interviewed. But this is Yahoo!, and journalistic integrity is not a priority.

Also not a priority? Punctuation. At least, correct punctuation is not a priority. Maybe someone will tell us about the process the writer has for distinguishing between a question and an imperative sentence:

font style 3

Not a Mensa member?

You know all those lists of the Top 10 Writing Mistakes That Make You Look Like an Idiot? Those lists always include the common error of using its instead of it’s, or vice versa.  Well, forget those lists because they neglect the most common mistake of all. It’s this one from Yahoo! Travel:

its apost travel

Be honest: Aren’t you guilty of making the same embarrassing error? Maybe that’s why they denied your application for Mensa.

Tim Hortons gets something extra

If only there were some way for the Yahoo! News writers to see how to spell Tim Hortons, the Canadian eatery. Like a picture or something. Something, anything that would show them that there’s no apostrophe in the name:

tim hortons news

It would still be wrong

Even if the writer for Yahoo! Movies had remembered to put the hyphen in run-in, the word would still be wrong:

run in omg 1

A run-in is a quarrel or argument; it’s not a casual meeting.

But aside from that, what mistakes did the writer make? There’s some problem with familiar faces, because the writer implies that Lindsay Lohan and Tina Fey share the same face:

run in omg 2

This writer really has issues with punctuation. She puts an erroneous apostrophe is Wednesdays and puts a semicolon within quotation marks. In U.S. English, two punctuation characters never, ever go before a closing quotation mark: a colon and a semicolon.

It belongs to a purple dinosaur

If it’s Barneys (without an apostrophe), it’s a store in New York City. If it’s Barney’s (with an apostrophe), it belongs to the purple dinosaur on PBS.  Or, it’s a misspelling of the store’s name on the Yahoo! front page:

fp barneys

Lo and behold!

Every day Yahoo! brings us a new and amusing spelling, punctuation, factual, or grammatical error. Today, it’s on the Yahoo! front page (as many of them are) and it’s a misspelling of lo and behold that I’ve never seen before:

fp lo apost

Yahoo! staffers have spelled that expression as low and behold here and here. But the inclusion of an apostrophe — as if lo were a contraction — is one I’ve not seen before. The interjection lo is “used to attract attention or to show surprise” (American Heritage Dictionary). It’s not a contraction of a longer word; it is a word.

Where do they go?

There are two hyphens and two apostrophes missing in this paragraph from Yahoo! Finance. Do you know where they go?

target finance

Correct! The hyphens belong in three-month (it’s a compound adjective modifying search) and 55-year-old. The apostrophes belong in what the Associated Press calls quasi possessives: ten years’ and three years’.

Plum’s! Watermelon’s! Smith’s!

Really? Did someone working for Yahoo! Celebrity really think that this is an acceptable plural of the surname Smith?

smiths apost omg

That’s the kind of error you might expect to find on a hand-written sign at a local grocery  (Plum’s! Watermelon’s!), not at one of the busiest sites on the Web.

Check out this

So, how did Yahoo! Answers get its name? Is it the result of consumer research? I really don’t know, but I do know that it’s not the best-written site on Yahoo!. Check out the mistakes in this one little paragraph, which include a contraction (it’s) instead of a possessive pronoun (its) and a noun (checkout) instead of a phrasal verb (check out):

bluetooth answers

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?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 744 other followers

%d bloggers like this: