The number is close to one

The number of errors that you’ll find in this sentence from Yahoo! Celebrity is close to one:

number are celeb

It’s so close to one, that it is one. And it’s a common subject-verb disagreement when the subject is number. Here’s what the American Heritage Dictionary says about number as a collective noun:

As a collective noun number may take either a singular or a plural verb. It takes a singular verb when it is preceded by the definite article the: The number of skilled workers is increasing. It takes a plural verb when preceded by the indefinite article a: A number of the workers have learned new skills.

An delightfully unconventional word

Do you recognize the objects tied around the box, below? The writer for Yahoo! DIY didn’t:

ticket stub 2

She claims they’re ticket stubs:

ticket stub 1

They are not. They are actual tickets. Ticket stubs are the part of a ticket that the buyer keeps as a receipt.

So, the writer occasionally has trouble with choosing the right word. Sometimes the result is a delightfully unconventional stumble. Sometimes the result is a mismatch of a subject (like perforation) and verb (like help). Either she meant to type perforations or she meant to type helps or she meant exactly what she typed. Which would be not so delightful.

This doesn’t sound good

Everything in this sentence on Yahoo! Sports sounds good until you get to the verb. And then a little subject-verb clash happens:

sounds good sports hp

The subject is plural; the verb should be, too. And that would be sound.

Possible error keeps readers on high alert

Readers don’t have to be on high alert to find the grammatical errors on Yahoo! Celebrity. They’re right in front of their eyes:

keep celeb

Selena and Justin arrive at AMAs live

What are the chances someone from Yahoo! Music checked this caption before it went live? Uh, none:

arrives music

Well, at least we know that Selena and Justin arrived at the AMAs live. Maybe a hearse was just to pricey.

These ideas make for hilarity

Do you find this as funny as I do? I think it’s hilarious that the writers for Yahoo! DIY keep mistaking a palate (which is the roof of your mouth) with a palette (which is a range of colors):

palate diy

Some ideas make me double over with laughter. Or pain. One of those ideas is that people actually get paid to write this stuff.

Did they get 4000 dollar bills?

Unless Larry Ellison paid these pilots using 4000 one-dollar bills, the writer for the Yahoo! front page used the wrong verb:

fp dollars were

It’s not a mistake you see very often (except on yahoo.com), but this verb is just wrong; it should be “was.” When the subject is a collective noun such as distance, a length of time, or a sum of money, the verb should be singular:

  • Four dollars is too much to pay.
  • Three miles isn’t that far.
  • Two hours is an acceptable delay.

Ruining English

The people responsible for the writing on the Yahoo! front page seem to be part of a media culture that often ruins the language:

fp ruin

It happens when the writer can’t match the subject (like, oh, say, maybe culture) and its verb (like ruins).

It appears to be wrong

Neither the Yahoo! Style writer nor the editor appears to know basic grammar:

neither appear style

When two subjects are joined by the correlative conjunction neither…nor, the verb must agree with the subject closer to it. So, it should be “neither Richie’s children nor her husband appears” but “neither Richie’s husband nor her children appear.”

All those errors remind us of fourth grade

There are more errors committed by professional writers and editors on Yahoo! than in all the high school newspapers in the country. All those errors — including this one from Yahoo! Movies — remind me of my fourth grade class when we learned to spot the subject of a sentence and then match the verb to it:

reminds us movies

I guess this writer was sick that day.

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