Let’s relegate that to the language dumpster

Let’s relegate the use of a hyphen after an adverb ending in -LY  to the Grammar Slammer. While we’re at it, let’s make a citizen’s arrest and haul in the Yahoo! Shine writer who also thinks that delegating is the right word:

delegating shine

I had never heard (or read) anyone use delegate when relegate was the word that was called for — until I started reading Yahoo!. Relegate means “to assign to an obscure place, position, or condition.” Delegate means “to commit or entrust to another.”

Make up your mind!

The writers at Yahoo! Shine can’t seem to make up their mind: Is it hyphenated or not?

makeup shine hp

This kind of embarrassing inconsistency is the reason that a website that is serious about the quality of its content has a style guide and a standard dictionary and requires its writers and editors to adhere to both.

Well known for all the wrong reasons

Writers are just as well known for omitting hyphens (in brand-new, for example) as they are for using the wrong word. Case in point: This sentence from Yahoo! Sports:

brand new sports

Just don’t use it, part deux

Last week I urged the writers at Yahoo! to just give up on the apostrophe. They have no idea when to use it, and their sad attempts at punctuation just make them look like amateurs. Well, I’m here to urge at least one writer for yahoo.com to give the hyphen the boot. Someone has no idea when to use it, sprinkling it willy-nilly about, as if it were rice at a wedding:

fp recently-deceased clarissa

The common mistake (common throughout Yahoo!, that is) of putting a hyphen between an adverb ending in -LY and the word it modifies is almost forgivable (almost, but not completely). What’s unforgivable is throwing that horizon character in someone’s name, especially someone as well-known as Clarissa Dickson Wright. Why on God’s green earth would anyone arbitrarily hyphenate someone’s name?

Best- and worst-case scenarios

What’s the best-case scenario for the Yahoo! front page? That you’d never find a misspelling, typo, missing word, or ugly grammar ever. What’s the worst-case scenario? That you’d find all that and more on yahoo.com. Those are the best- and worst-case scenarios.

But is that what the writer for yahoo.com meant here?

fp best worst-case

What the writer actually wrote was: Best scenarios and worst-case scenarios. Without the suspensive hyphen in best-, there’s no way to tell that it is associated with the word case. A suspensive hyphen shows the omission of a repeated word. It’s a way to avoid saying “best-case, worst-case scenarios.”

The use of the suspensive hyphen is a mystery to many Yahoo! scribes. Maybe the writer for yahoo.com was following the lead of the Einstein at Yahoo! Sports who wrote this:

best case sports 1

or the person who wrote this headline:

best case sports 2

It’s like an epidemic of punctuation omissions over at Yahoo!.

A news source you can trust?

How many typos, misspellings, and wrong word choices does it take before you question the credibility of a news article? If the article is written by a Yahoo! News staffer, I start with an attitude of skepticism, which is buttressed by the errors that are sure to be there.

I can count on there being at least one homophonic error. In this article, the writer claims an ice sculpture was discretely wheeled into a hotel suite:

cpac 1

Unless that sculpture was delivered in bits of ice cubes, it was brought in discreetly, so as not to attract attention.

A typo in a photo caption isn’t the worst thing you’ll find in the article:

cpac 2

But a second homophonic error just might be:

cpac 3

Perhaps it’s a rite of passage at Yahoo! News: You can’t get a byline until you’ve made at least three boneheaded mistakes in a single article.

Here’s a makeshift spelling of makeshift:

cpac 4

There’s nothing wrong with this paragraph except for the arbitrarily capitalized former and the spelling of Dinesh D’Souza and Cathy McMorris Rodgers:

cpac 5

Two of those mistakes would get you sent to the woodshed in a legitimate news organization. But wait! There’s more! Here, the writer claims there was a big band consisting of 16 pieces:

cpac 7

and yet in the photo caption, he’s added a musician:

cpac 6

Perhaps the writer was enjoying the contents of the kegerator when he wrote this:

cpac 8

and then forgot that if you use a dollar sign, you shouldn’t also use the word bucks (because that would be “20 dollars bucks”):

cpac 9

So, I’m not trustin’ too much (if anything) I read from this author. I guess for some, getting an article published is all that matters:

cpac 10

Unfortunately this isn’t rarely seen

It’s a common error on yahoo.com — and throughout Yahoo! where its writers and editors lurk — but I wish it were rarely seen:

fp rarely-seen pix

That hyphen joining the adverb rarely and the adjective that follows it is a problem. It’s just unnecessary and wrong.  Just as it is here, too:

fp newly-engaged

When an adverb ending in -LY is followed by an adjective, there’s no need for the hyphen; the -LY is the signal to the reader that the adverb modifies the word that follows it.

What NFL offensive free agents don’t get

If you’re an NFL offensive free agent, don’t expect the same treatment as defensive free-agents — at least not on Yahoo! Sports:

free agents sports

That hyphen belongs to free-agents of the defensive kind. Never mind that most legitimate media companies have little things known as guidelines and standards for spelling words specific a topic like sports. It’s far preferable to spell some words with a hyphen and without a hyphen. It keeps things from getting boring for the reader. And it separates the defensive from the offensive.

They don’t look alike to me

It looks like somebody writing for the Yahoo! front page likes lookalikes:

fp lookalikes no hyph

That’s fine, I guess. It’s an acceptable spelling according to the American Heritage Dictionary, though look-alike (with a hyphen) is the preferred spelling. Maybe that’s why someone else at yahoo.com used it here:

fp lookalike hyph

I didn’t realize that when it’s singular, the noun is look-alike; when it’s plural, the hyphen goes away. It’s an odd rule obviously made up by some newbie editors at the Internet giant. Experienced editors at most serious news media agree to use the preferred spelling in an agreed-upon dictionary. Those editors at Yahoo! are such rebels!

Was it a surprise?

Were the editors at Yahoo! Sports taken by surprise by the Sochi Olympics? Did they not know in advance that it would take place this year and that perhaps, maybe, perchance, they might want to prepare for covering the Games? One thing they might have done: Standardize the spelling of some events so that they could avoid embarrassing inconsistencies like this:

super g sports


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