What’s going on at Yahoo?

There’s something really weird going on at yahoo.com. The number of bone-headed mistakes on that page has exploded. Is it a new writing staff? A bunch of interns hired for the summer? Outsourcing to a non-English-speaking country? Here’s just some of the things spotted on today’s Yahoo! front page.

If the marathon you’re writing about is in Boston, it’s the Boston Marathon (with a big M). That’s not the only thing I’d quibble about, though. I can’t say I agree with the statement that “retrievers are used to distract” people. There are many, many documented benefits to petting a dog, including lowering blood pressure:

fp marathon

Here’s a use of chide that’s new to me: It’s used as a transitive verb (meaning it has a direct object, in this case decision), so it means “to reprimand or scold mildly.” I don’t think anyone was chiding the decision — the person who made the decision, maybe was chided.

fp chided

Ah, the old subject-verb disagreement. There can’t be any disagreement that the subject is tenor and the verb should be is. Also, there’s that dangling modifier at the beginning of the sentence, which appears to modify tenor (which makes no sense), though it likely should modify the writing on the boat:

fp tenor are

OK, here’s a mystery for you: What was Iran stockpiling? Government cheese? This doesn’t contain a grammatical or spelling error. This is what is known as an error of omission: It tells you nothing.

fp stockpile

I almost spit out my sugar-free, nonfat vanilla latte when I read this:

fp cafe

The name of that café is a mouthful, n’est-ce pas? The hilarity continues when you realize that the poor French-challenged writer has mashed up Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots.

If you’re reading something online right now (and I think you are), then according to Yahoo!, that is the reason you procrastinate. It is not what you do when you procrastinate, it is the cause of the procrastination. Good to know.

fp procrastinate

Here’s one you can disagree with, but according to the American Heritage Dictionary, the preferred spelling in the U.S. is disk:

fp disc

And we’re back to that old bugaboo — matching a subject (series) with its verb (hint: it shouldn’t be show):

fp series show

Finally, there’s another preferred spelling: light-years (with a hyphen):

fp light years

Whew! That’s all for now. And by that I mean, I’m going to go get two Advils and lie down.

Editor’s quick thinking saves headline

If only it were true. If only an editor had read this headline on Yahoo! Shine before it was published it might have included an apostrophe (for teens’) and the correct verb:

teens quick thinking shine

That doesn’t mean she’s sociable

Readers in the English-speaking world defy the writers/editors/proofreaders at yahoo.com and object to this mismatching of subject and verb:

fp defies

They also object to the use of socialist to refer Ms. Hidalgo. She is a member of the Socialist Party. That means she is a Socialist, not that she is gregarious, outgoing, and sociable.

Neither was looking

What happens when neither the writer nor the editor looks for grammatical mistakes? You get a mismatch of subject and verb, like this on Yahoo! Sports:

neither look sports

When the subject is two nouns joined by neither…nor, the verb should agree with the noun closer to it. In this case, it’s singular (Miami) and the verb should be singular, too (looks).

Do you get this?

Do you understand how a mistake like this on Yahoo! Shine gets by the editors?

get shine hp

Surprise! It’s wrong

It’s no surprise that there’s a little subject-verb disagreement on the Yahoo! front page:

fp surprise

The subject, group, is singular; the correct verb is surprises.

Writing includes wrong verb

Here’s the kind of grammatical error that I’ll never understand. How did the writers, editors, proofreaders, and yahooligans miss this on the Yahoo! front page?

fp includes

My guess is that Yahoo! doesn’t employ editors or proofreaders, and its writers are the yahooligans responsible for destroying the language.

Mick Jagger and the band deserve better

When I read something like this, which appears on the Yahoo! front page, I have to wonder what kindergarten dropout wrote this:

fp is forced

Is there any excuse for writing “is forced” instead of “are forced”? Anyone?

Love science? Hate grammar?

Hate grammar? There may be a job for you as a writer or editor for yahoo.com, where a knowledge of subject-verb agreement is strictly optional:

fp love science

What do you expect?

Every day Yahoo! Shine features terrible typos, monstrous misspellings, and grammatical gaffes. If you’ve wondered how some many mistakes could slip past the editors, I think I’ve found an answer. Just take a look at some of the errors made by the senior fashion and beauty editor for Yahoo! Shine.

This should be Jean Paul Gaultier, the French designer, and a name a senior fashion editor should know:

shoes shine 1

This is an approximation of Lily Gatins’ name:

shoes shine 2

I’d expect a senior fashion editor to be familiar with Maison Martin Margiela:

shoes shine 3
It’s not surprising that there are so mistakes on Shine when a senior editor makes major contributions to the error count.

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