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 yahoo.com, I say don’t believe what you read.

If it end’s in S, it need’s an apostrophe

That seems to be the editorial mantra at Yahoo! Style: Any word that ends in an S, even a name, must include an apostrophe before the S:

lily collins style

There is no other way to explain something like that. Unless it’s an acute case of carelessness, ignorance, and/or idiocy. While I’m at it, maybe someone will explain to me what “Love, Rosie” is doing in the middle of that sentence. Is it the title of a movie? If so, it needs quotation marks or italics — something to make it distinct from the rest of the text. It’s not a showstopping error, but spelling showstopping as two words is.

Lots and lots of errors

That new site that Yahoo! just launched, Yahoo! DIY, has lots and lots of errors. Here are just two of them:

lots and lots diy

It’s not a grocery store

You’d expect to find something like this at a small, local market: avocado’s, banana’s, and more product signs all sporting an apostrophe as if it were part of forming a plural noun. It isn’t. It’s wrong, and you know that. But I didn’t expect to find it on a presumably professionally written site like Yahoo! Style. But I should have:

customers style

How does something like that happen? Is it ignorance? Carelessness? Or an arrogant disregard for language?

It just goes from bad to more bad

This headline was my first indication that the article on Yahoo! Style was not going to go well:

ed pick 1

The new ’60s-inspired pieces you need now? I think they involve a correctly placed an apostrophe (which shouldn’t be used to form the plural) and a hyphen.

Things only got worse. It’s hard to imagine what went through the writer’s mind when she pounded out this:

ed pick 2

It’s pretty clear that makes and reminds should be make and remind (because their subject is surfboards) and that summer isn’t a proper noun. But what could be wrong with wool sweater? The answer lies in the handy caption for the sweater that the writer provided:

ed pick 3

WTF? How did the writer screw up that badly? It’s a freakin’ linen sweater, not a wool one!

This writer is just obsessed with wool sweaters, to the point of lying about the actual material of her recommendations:

ed pick 4

First, let’s look at the helpful information the writer supplied because the alleged black stripe is actually navy:

ed pick 5

And is it mohair? Of course not! It’s nylon and acrylic. The writer just likes to make up her own little facts.

Do you know how difficult it is to find the correct spelling of gray? Luckily you don’t have to. In the U.S., it gets an A; in other English-speaking countries, the preferred spelling is grey:

ed pick 55

Again the writer proves that she’s grammatically challenged, unable to identify a plural subject (shape and color) and match it to a verb (which should be are).

When not making up information about sweaters, the writer likes to be creative about pants:

ed pick 6

What could possible wrong with that? The pattern is called dogtooth and the pants aren’t cropped, even though the writer just can’t let go of the whole crop pants thing:

ed pick 7

Geez. This just keeps getting worse. There’s a missing hyphen in must-have, fall is capitalized erroneously, and this sentence makes no sense:

ed pick 8

I don’t know what this means nor what FW means:

ed pick 9

Think it can’t get worse? Think again:

ed pick 85

The handbag is not made from box leather; it’s a leather box bag.And it was seen from a lot of famous people.

I have to keep reminding myself that this article was written by a professional writer, someone who is actually paid real money to write this crap:

ed pick 10

That’s someone who doesn’t know the difference between its and it’s. Who doesn’t know to end a sentence with a period (a comma just won’t do) and stick a hyphen in cat-eye.

It started off with a mistake and just kept piling ‘em on. It went from bad to more bad and more bad.

I would decline the honer

If this was meant to honor Stevie Nicks and I were the singer, I’d say “no thanks, Yahoo! Style.”

stevie nicks style

I’m not impressed by a writer who doesn’t know how to hyphenate 66-year-old. Who doesn’t care about repeated words. And who is too lazy to look up the actual name of Ms. Nicks’ song. (It’s “Rhiannon.”) Apparently the writer thinks flapper and goth are worthy of capital letters, but honor isn’t worth a spell-check.

This is not an honor. It’s an insult to the subject and to the readers.

Much like others

This mess on the Yahoo! front page is much like others, except there’s more of it:

fp nationals

Somebody thought that Nationals needs an apostrophe to show that it was the Nationals’ exit, but somebody thought it doesn’t. Somebody thought that repeating a word is OK; the rest of the world thinks it isn’t. And somebody thought that much like 2012 was the same as much like in 2012, but it isn’t.

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.

It’s not just a replica

Jerry “The King” Lawler doesn’t own just a replica of a famous car, he owns a replica version of it. Which is something different, I guess — at least in the minds of yahoo.com staffers:

fp version 60s

Also different in their minds is the plural 1960s, which really doesn’t need that apostrophe.

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 778 other followers

%d bloggers like this: