As Christmas draws to an end (at least where I live), let’s hope we don’t see a Santa Clause ever again:
I know it’s too much to hope that we never see a random colon again; it’s bound to show up on Yahoo! where it doesn’t belong.
In the U.S., two punctuation marks always go after a closing quotation mark: the colon and semicolon. Except on the Yahoo! front page, where the rules of punctuation are optional:
We Americans just like to do things differently. One of those things is where we place some punctuation marks relative to quotation marks. In the U.S., periods and commas go inside quotation marks, like this:
I said, “Periods go inside quotation marks.”
“Commas do too,” I added.
The rest of the English-speaking world tends to disagree with us Yanks. But there is one rule of punctuation we all agree on — everyone except the writers and editors at Yahoo! News: Colons and semicolons always go outside quotation marks.
There seems to be some confusion over at Yahoo! News concerning the location of a colon relative to a closing quotation mark:
Two punctuation marks never go before a closing quotation mark: a colon and a semicolon.
Americans do things a little differently from the rest of the English-speaking word when it comes to punctuation. Unlike the rest of the world, we put periods and commas before a closing quotation mark. But there are two punctuation marks that always go after a closing quotation mark, regardless of the English-speaking country you’re in: the colon and the semicolon. So, it doesn’t matter where you read this headline on Yahoo! Shine, it’s just wrong:
and so is this headline on Yahoo! News:
One writer, one article, lots of amusing gaffes. This must be Yahoo! Shine:
Some are minor, like neglecting the camel-case in YouTube. Others would embarrass any writer who takes pride in her work:
(A regiment is a military unit of ground troops or a large group of people. A regimen is a system intended to promote health or other beneficial effect.)
A bad headpiece includes a hyphen. Not such a gross error. But an Oreo cookie wearing glasses? Brilliant!
(That’s actually a dangling participle — wearing is the participle (or verb acting as an adjective) and it’s dangling because the noun it’s supposed to modify is nowhere in sight. Instead, it appears to modify the noun following the participial phrase “wearing the glasses.”)
The eyes, it seems, are a single window:
And extraneous words are the essentially the same as unnecessary words:
So, let’s get to the point: This article sucks. It has its potential grammatical uses — but only as an example of what not to do.
What’s wrong with this picture from Yahoo! News? Could it be the punctuation? Yes, yes it could.
In the U.S. a colon goes after a closing quotation mark. (A period and comma go before it — except in other English-speaking countries, where they go after it.) So, the location of the colon is wrong, but that’s not the worst of it. The colon should actually be a comma.
Some writers are just apostrophe-happy, sticking them in all sorts of places where they don’t belong. The writer for Yahoo! TV‘s “Primetime in No Time” is one of those people. He likes to use them for forming plurals. There are few times when an apostrophe is needed to form the plural of an abbreviation, and this isn’t one of them:
The plural of DVD is DVDs. (Oops, I almost forgot to mention the misplaced comma; if you’re in the U.S., it belongs before that closing quotation mark.)
This sentence isn’t so bad, but I would’ve liked it a lot more if the writer had included all the words in this sentence:
It’d also be nice if he knew how to form the plural of favorites (hint: it doesn’t involve an apostrophe). At least there’s an apostrophe in ’60s and ’90s, though it’s in the wrong place: For decades it’s not used to show a plural, but to indicate that the numerals 19 are missing. Finally, where the heck was the spell-checker? Did it just step out for a latte? Anyone who writes should have a spell-checker. And should use it. It would have found the misspelling of Lincoln.
It’s just a handful of grammatical (and other) goofs on Yahoo! Shine. (The errors pale in comparison to those the writer has made in the past, including more than 50 in a single article.) So, I won’t be as hard on her this time, although I still feel a professional writer ought to be required to use a spell-checker, which would have avoided some of these embarrassments.
A spell-checker would have found this sleazy misspelling:
but would have OK’d this homophonic error:
This missing comma is one of the top 5 comma errors you’ll find on Yahoo!, so maybe it’s to be expected. The missing article a is also a common error, as is the extra word in what should be “but this time”:
The plural of DJ is DJs (without an apostrophe), but that’s just being nitpicky, isn’t it?
It should be a two-way street; CBC News needs a little lift from the Shift key, and last-ditch is a compound modifier needing a little hyphenation:
So, this isn’t that bad. Especially if it appeared in an elementary school newspaper.
I exaggerate. Yahoo! staffers have produced much worse writing than this blurb on Yahoo! Shine:
It does, however, contain a high error-to-word ratio, which could have been avoided if there was a competent editor involved in its creation.
That capitalized The in the movie title would be OK, if the writer had kept the colon after the word Presents. The comma that separates a subject from its verb is just plain wrong. The title of the movie ”Super Size Me” is wrong, too. And the typo and is an easy one to spot and correct.
So, this isn’t the worst writing. It’s just typical of content from Yahoo!’s writers and editors, who are presumably paid to write. If only they were paid to write correctly…