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.

You just have to wonder

You just have to wonder what was going through the Yahoo! Shine writer’s head that made her think that twentysomethings was a proper noun:

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I wonder what’s so hard about copying the name Center on Education and the Workforce. You don’t have to remember it or know how to spell it. All you have to do is copy it and paste it into the article. I can almost understand not capitalizing mom, though it’s a proper noun in this context. And Wi-Fi is a registered trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

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There’s no need to capitalize Mr. Carnevale’s title; there is, however, a need to learn to spell millennial:

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The number of errors skyrocketed with this excerpt, which includes the split-up skyrocket. The author also confuses a degree with a diploma; a high school graduate has a diploma, not a degree. Again with the capitalized twentysomethings! And then there’s an alleged quote, which I’ll bet you dollars to donuts is really a misquote BECAUSE IT MAKES NO SENSE:

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Sorry about the ALL CAPS. I get carried away sometimes when I read something that’s so badly written by a person who is actually paid to write. And especially one who can’t be bothered to spell-check:

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Nice try here with the comma. Unfortunately, it’s wrong. It should be a semicolon because the sentence comprises two independent clauses that are not joined by a conjunction:

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So, this brings us to the next misspelling of millennials — a spelling that the author clings to like a drowning man clutching an anchor. Perhaps she wouldn’t be so clingy if she bothered to do a spell-check:

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There’s an attempt here to use hyphens, but they’re wrong. To show a range of ages, the writer needs hyphens and a space and the word to, like this: 18- to 24-year-old. And that other hyphen is no substitute for a real dash:

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I’m just guessin’, but I don’t think the writer has a bachelor’s degree in English:

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You just have to wonder how a professional writer can make so many mistakes and still get paid.

Making do with what you have

If you make three boneheaded errors at the beginning of a sentence, perhaps you should stop writing and correct your mistakes, rather than continue with the sentence.

news new have

But the writer for Yahoo! News‘ “The Sideshow” has another idea: He’s happy to make do with the limited skills he has. He doesn’t seem to mind that New Haven got shortchanged, that due isn’t what the police made, and that a semicolon isn’t a substitute for a comma.

Are you kidding!?

Was the writer for Yahoo! Movies having a good laugh when writing about a movie that’s “to risque”? Personally, I think that’s too funny, as are the misspelling of Flintstones and the use of a comma where a semicolon belongs:

spring movies 1

If you’re a phonetic speller, you might think this is how to spell Judy Blume. Oh, there’s that semicolon! Of course, it doesn’t belong here:

spring movies 2

OK, so now I know the writer has a sense of humor. Maybe she meant court marshal? Or court jester, because this is kinda funny:

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Ha-ha! No, it’s not the same “Jurassic Park” we knew and loved, it’s some crazed misspelling:

spring movies 4

Reign of error

This 2-sentence excerpt comprises some common mistakes you’ll see on Yahoo! Movies:

free reign movies

There’s the misuse of comprised of, which should be comprises or consists of or something similar. Then there’s the use of twenty-six, which isn’t a mistake if that’s the house style. But, most style guides recommend using digits for numbers that are 10 or above. What’s not a matter of house style? The use of a semicolon, which should be a comma.

When it comes to language, style and punctuation, it appears that the writer had free rein.

Why would you do that?

Seeing mistakes every day on the Yahoo! front page, I ask myself: How did that happen? How did a mistake like this get past the proofreader?

How did this attempt at mortgage escape the spell-checker?

And why would a writer think you needed to capitalize the word following a semicolon?

And then I think, Oh, yeah. This Yahoo!. Nobody there cares about spelling, grammar, punctuation, or facts. And I go back to doing my Sudoku.

Capitalize everything!

Unsure if a word should be capitalized? Just do what the writers for the Yahoo! front page do: Give it a capital letter! Who cares if it’s wrong to capitalize a common noun following a semicolon? After all, a semicolon is just a period with a comma underneath:

When should you capitalize ceremony? Anytime you want! Even though it’s wrong, it looks great and gives the word importance:

It’s not proper after a semicolon

A word doesn’t automatically get capitalized because it follows a semicolon. That’s generally understood by writers — except over at the Yahoo! front page, where editors often capitalize common nouns and other words following a semicolon:

I forgot

Oooops. I guess someone on Yahoo! front page forgot that you don’t capitalize a common noun following a semicolon:

A source of finance info you can trust

If you’re looking for reliable information about the economy and finance, look no further than Yahoo! Finance‘s “The Daily Ticker.” You’ll just want to overlook the occasional minor gaffes, like the claim that OMB slashed the GDP growth, when it was the growth estimate that was slashed. And don’t pay any mind to the actual numbers, which don’t make sense:

Although the writer does not get high marks for her writing. Two-thirds of the errors in this paragraph involve using the wrong word. You may disapprove of how she has handled the language, but those are just quibbles:

No one interested in the current economy cares about punctuation; however, I prefer a semicolon before however and a comma after it. A repeated word is just there to make sure you econ newbies get the message:

Don’t think that because the writer can’t type simple words that she’s not competent at handling more complex subjects. And ignore the arbitrary capitalization of Politico — she’s not really shouting at you, she’s just a tad confused about the correct use of the Shift key here:

and here:

See? The writer’s totally dependable. It’s just her writing that’s a little suspect.


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