Not a geography expert?

Not the winner of the National Geographic Bee, but still think you got what it takes to write about places around the world? No worries! You can write for the Yahoo! front page, where knowledge of geography (or just about any subject) is not required:

fp cabo

Even if you think that there’s a town named Cabo in a Mexican state called San Lucas, you could work at Imagine how far you’d get if you actually know that the city is Cabo San Lucas.

Keep the kids away from the keyboard

This is what happens when you let the kiddies take over the keyboard and write for a site like Yahoo! Style: You get amateurish writing, juvenile vocabulary, and sloppy errors. I don’t know if the writer is a teen or a tween, just that she writes like one.

A professional writer covering New York Fashion Week should know how many capital letters to use. But that’s not all; the errors are nonstop (which is one word, not two). She seems like a writer I typically wouldn’t chat with:

adderall style 1

It’s Groundhog Day, not this thing the writer made up:

adderall style 2

If you’re writing about Adderall, don’t you think you should know when to hit the Shift key? It’s common to refer to a certain period as the mid-90s and it’s more common to include all words, even the in “as the wonder drug”:

adderall style 3

Is this the kind of writing they’re featuring on Yahoo! now? Does the writer have such a paucity of words that she can’t come up with a better way to express this?

adderall style 4

Clearly she has no idea what a proper noun is, like Instagram and Tumblr:

adderall style 5

(Since Yahoo! also owns Tumblr, she might want to learn how to spell it.)

The writing is so bad that I’m practically dozing off.  But I perk up when I see a quote this bad. (It should be “said, ‘You’re welcome.’) And again with the undercapitalized Adderall!

adderall style 6

I don’t know how this went off the rails so badly:

adderall style 7

There’s at least one way to correct that: “At every dinner, cocktail party, and even shows.”

Lordie, I guess we can’t expect kids these days to know about the use of a hyphen in a compound adjective like “four-hour” or to know how to proofread so that no words are missing:

adderall style 8

This wouldn’t be complete without one more lowercased Adderall:

adderall style 9

So, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Not if the writer’s a 10-year-old.

One fascinating fact about Jr.

There was a time when putting a comma between a last name and an abbreviation like Jr. and Sr. was mandatory. But that’s no longer the standard, except on the Yahoo! front page where it sometimes appears in names:

fp jr comma

Since 1993 The Chicago Manual of Style  recommends that no comma be used in names like Martin Luther King Jr. It also notes that  if you use the comma before Jr. or Sr.,  the comma sets off these abbreviations, so an additional comma is needed after the abbreviation.

This makes me feel old

Maybe it’s because I remember my first Walkman. Maybe it’s because I come from a generation that values the ability to communicate effectively and accurately in writing. Whatever the reason, reading this on Yahoo! Shine just made be feel old:

walkmans shine

I suspect that the writer is from a different, younger generation from mine. That may explain why she doesn’t know that Walkman is a trademark and not a generic term. It might explain the random comma, because rules of punctuation seem to elude the young’ums. But I’d expect her to know how to spell Gangnam and for her to be able to identify the first names of Benny and Rafi Fine. Or is that asking too much?

I wish I could call it a compliment

Yahoo! News is the armpit of online media. That’s not a compliment. It’s just a reaction I had to this made-up word that appears in a very large headline on the site:

nj 1

Residents of New Jersey are New Jerseyans or New Jerseyites.

So, OK, the writer made up a word. Is that worse than making up rules for the use of the comma, and randomly sprinkling that punctuation in a sentence?

nj 2

Probably not. It’s not worse than this:

nj 3

If you’re trying to be sarcastic, you have to be scrupulous in your use of language; otherwise, readers will think your sarcasm is just one more careless or ignorant mistake. This attempt at sarcasm fails because the writer doesn’t know the difference between it’s (for “it is” or “it has”) and the possessive its. If the writer had mentioned that the state is famous for its even-keeled, milquetoast residents, then it might have been seen as an attempt at humor.

If only there were a way…

If only there were a way for writers to see the exact spelling of a product they’re writing about. Something like oh, maybe a picture of the product. If the writer for Yahoo! Shine had a picture, perhaps she could see how to spell Sandler and Watercolour:

sadler 1

Oopsie. There’s a picture, but she still got the product name wrong. Maybe that’s just an anomaly.

Except that it’s not. Here she manages to miss O2M, too. And not content with messin’ with the product name, she messes with punctuation (with an extraneous period and mysterious comma), grammar (it’s should be its), and spelling of techie (she makes up her own spelling because the one in dictionaries is just too ordinary, and she needs to flex her creative muscle):

sadler 2

I thought there was an actual photo of a product by Ginvera, but noooo. I am wrong. It is a pgoto of something from Ginevra:

sadler 3

If only this writer could actually copy words that are right in front of her, perhaps we might be willing to overlook her other literary shortcomings.

Illiterate in 2 languages

If you’re a “senior fashion and beauty editor,” shouldn’t you know something about fashion and editing? Nah. Not if you work for Yahoo! Shine. You can be illiterate in both English and French and ignorant of fashionable words like haute couture:

fanny pack 1

In lieu of real English (and French expressions), you can make up your own mashup:

fanny pack 2

and even include an extra word here and there:

fanny pack 3

You can even add unnecessary (and totally wrong) punctuation and make a completely irrelevant reference to Camoflauge:

fanny pack 4

To those poor tragically unhip readers like me (who had to refer to Wikipedia), this is Camoflauge, also known as Jason Johnson:


That may not be what the writer meant. She probably meant camouflage. Her lack of basic literacy may be responsible for that mistake and this one:

fanny pack 5

Both are wrong

In this little excerpt from Yahoo! Sports’ “Ball Don’t Lie,” the writer uses both with more than two items (which is both wrong and puzzling) and then follows up with a semicolon where a comma is called for:

both sports

The word both can only be used with two items — no more, no less. A semicolon can be used to join two independent clauses that are not joined by a conjunction. But in this example, the second clause is a dependent clause, meaning that it can’t stand alone as a sentence.

Don Johnson attends premiere of ‘Don Johnson’

Well, hello, Miss Steele.

That’s the way this opening on Yahoo! Movies should have been punctuated if you’re an old-school punctuationist:

don johnson movies

That’s not the only punctuation problem in this excerpt: There’s the period outside the quotation marks (in the U.S., it goes before the closing quote) and the missing hyphen in 23-year-old. And while we’re talking errors, how about that extra word in “attended to”? Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith attended the premiere of “Don Johnson.” I wonder if it’s anything like the recently premiered “Don Jon.”

How many does it take?

How many mistakes on a single page of Yahoo! Shine does it take before you close your browser and decide to read something that’s better written — like a high school newspaper?

Is one wayward hyphen enough to make you want to shoot out the screen of your laptop?

racially-charged shine

(We all know that there’s no hyphen between an adverb ending in -LY and the word it modifies.)

Or do you need two goofs? Anywhere else, the missing comma would probably go unnoticed; in a headline, it’s hard to miss what’s missing:

no comma shine

Maybe this isn’t the third gaffe on the page, but then again, maybe it is. I am tragically unhip, so perhaps one of Terribly Write’s readers can tell me if this is what young’uns are substituting for the word amazing:

amaze shine

That’s it for me! Three strikes and I’m outta here!


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