A no-nonsense look at writing

After reading the scribblings of Yahoo! writers and editors for years, few mistakes surprise me. But here are two that I’ve never seen before and hope to never see again:

themself diy

From Yahoo! DIY we get the nonsense that should be no-nonsense and the inscrutable themself. Really? The writer couldn’t figure out the plural themselves? In all the horrible, terrible, no good writing I’ve come across, I’ve never, ever seen a themself. Never.

I should have stopped reading

I shouldn’t have read more than this headline on Yahoo! Style:

our stories 1

I should have known that if the headline contains one humongous goof, the article itself is going to be a disaster. The huge mistake in the headline? The article is about a retailer called & Other Stories. How bad is that? Bad. But it gets worse.

At least in the opening paragraph, the writer manages to use the correct words for the retailer, though she does close up the space after the ampersand:

our stories 2

But she drops the the in what should be “in the U.S.” and the hyphen that’s required in brand-new. Maybe the writer is a recent arrival to the States and doesn’t realize that it’s capitalized when referring to the United States.

When it’s a noun or an adjective, must-have must have a hyphen:

our stories 3

This could be a simple typo (names instead of named), but the use of the pronoun their without any known antecedent is just wrong:

our stories 4

How do you explain the misspelling of a product when it appears below a picture of the product?

our stories 5

The final sentence of the article doesn’t disappoint: One hardly ever sees the use of a plural verb with the singular everything:

our stories 6

That was not good. I knew when I read the headline I should have stopped reading. My bad.

Not even trying

Ah, geez. This writer came up with one stinking little paragraph and she can’t even get the name of the product right? She’s not even trying:

fendi peekaboo

The bag is called the Peekaboo — without any of those hyphens. It’s downright (notice it’s one word?) crazy that the writer would insert them. I can forgive her for referring to an object as she, although it strikes me as both amateurish and juvenile. But then she tries to construct a sentence that is pure nonsense and seems to think navy is a synonym for midnight blue. It isn’t and the claim that “her navy is also .. midnight blue” just makes no sense.

The worst case of the hick-ups

It seems that the writers for Yahoo! Style have no regard for spelling. Case in point: these ridiculous errors that include a misspelling of hiccups and arbitrary (and totally incorrect) hyphens.

hick-ups style

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.

Let’s not go crazy with the hyphens

Mark Wahlberg’s house is big. Very big. It’s a 30,000 sq. ft. home, which is big, even without the hyphens that someone at yahoo.com inserted:

fp sq-ft

If you follow the Chicago Manual of Style (and we know that Yahoo! adheres to no known writing style), then don’t put a hyphen between a number and the abbreviation that follows it, even when they make up a compound adjective. If the number is followed by a unit of measurement that is spelled out, then it gets a hyphen: It was a 36 in. ruler, but it was a 36-inch ruler.

A style all its own

Those wacky editors at Yahoo! Style are at it again! Mashing up two words to create a new, totally unnecessary word, like coffeetable:

coffeetable style

Not restrained by the conventions of correct punctuation, they place a question mark wherever they like, as if “The Fault in Our Stars” were a question:

quest quot style

Don’t like Justin Bieber? Neither do they! That’s why they refer to him as Beiber:

beiber style

And the noun must-have doesn’t have to have a hyphen:

must have style

Wow! Wouldn’t it be great to work for a site where you can do whatever you want?

I just have to say it

I just have to say it: This is horrible. Atrocious. An embarrassment to the writer, Yahoo! Style, and all of Yahoo!:

maggie

It’s amazing the number and severity of errors one writer can make in a single sentence. First let me warn anyone who might be tempted to click on the first link. Don’t bother. It doesn’t have an actual URL behind it; you’ll just get an error.

Then let’s just say that apostrophes (especially when they face the wrong direction) are no substitute for actual quotation marks, which is what I think Yahoo! uses to delineate titles of TV shows.

How lazy a writer do you have to be to neglect to look up the name of the dancer in a YouTube video? Her name is Maddie Ziegler.

If by “empty rooms” the writer means rooms containing furniture, pictures on the wall, and curtains at the windows, then yes, the rooms are empty.

If these jaw-dropping errors are what we can expect to see in the future on the new Yahoo! Style, then I’ll be hanging out somewhere else — at a site that employs real writers with some measure of integrity and pride in their work.

Unfortunately, it’s not rarely seen

On the Yahoo! front page, the hyphen is overused, as it is in this recently published teaser:

fp recently-deceased 2

Perhaps if the writers were closely watched they wouldn’t throw a hyphen in after an adverb ending in -LY:

fp closely-watched 2

This mistake isn’t rarely seen; it occurs quite often on yahoo.com:

fp rarely-seen 2

Here’s what these writers don’t understand: An adverb ending in -LY is a signal to the reader that it modifies the word that follows it. There’s no need to join those two words with a hyphen.

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