Get used to it!

Good grammar used to be standard from professional writers. Nowadays, though, you’ll find professional scribes with little or no background or education in English. So, you get the kind of mistakes that are common on Yahoo! DIY:

use to be diy

Here’s an excerpt on the use of use to from the American Heritage Dictionary:

The verb use is used in the past tense with an infinitive to indicate a past condition or habitual practice: We used to live in that house. Because the -d in used has merged with the t of to and is not pronounced in these constructions, people sometimes mistakenly leave it out when writing.

Behind the curve, no-holds-barred writing

Oh, lordie. Where does the management at Yahoo! Style find these writers? Do they bother to verify if writers can speak and write in English? Do they check to see if they’re familiar with common idioms? Do they bother to edit their writing? No and no and no. That would be my guess after reading this:

curve ball

The expressions are “behind the curve” and “no holds barred.” This writer is way behind the curve when it comes to writing.

‘Tis true: ‘Tis not ’tis

If you know that ’tis is a contraction of it is, then you understand the need for the apostrophe. If you have no idea what ’tis means, you’ll omit the apostrophe, like the writer for Yahoo! Style did:

tis women style

If you’re a grown woman, you should appreciate the utility of the apostrophe. You should also appreciate the difference between woman and women.

Still holding your breath?

Take a deep breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. Stay calm, this misspelling on Yahoo! DIY may pass:

breath diy

How to make your writing stand out

Your writing will stand out if you can discern the difference between a noun (like standout) and a phrasal verb (like stand out). It would be a true standout on Yahoo! Style, where conventional rules of writing do not apply:

standout style

How to sink your career

Your career as a writer for the Yahoo! front page may have just sunk with this grammatical gaffe:

fp sunk

A sunken career can be as hard to raise as a sunken ferry, especially if your downfall is the result of an ability to distinguish between an adjective (like, oh, say, maybe sunken) and a verb (sunk).

Don’t hold your breath

As I live and breathe, I’ve never seen this mistake — until I read Yahoo! DIY:

breaths diy

If you expect an editor to correct this, don’t hold your breath. This was actually written by someone with the title of “editor.”

That’s a novel definition

I’m restraining myself. I was going to say something snarky about this mistake on Yahoo! Style, but I’ve decided that the writer needs our compassion and not our scorn:

novelists style

Clearly the writer is vocabulary-challenged. Perhaps she is new to English and is still learning the language. We should support her in her efforts by gently pointing out that a novelist writes novels. Hence, the term novelist. And a novel is a work of fiction. None of the women she lists has written a novel and therefore none is a novelist. They have all written books, which were not works of fiction, and they might be described as authors.

You love life

You love life. I know that because I read it on

fp you love life

Why not thinking out of the box

It looks like the elementary school crowd has taken over the writing of this article on Yahoo! DIY. How else would you explain the verb gets with an apostrophe? Or the use of it’s instead of its? Did we all master that by the time we were 12? And I’m still trying to figure out how an editor would fix the last sentence here:

gets its apos diy

Is it “Warm gatherings … call for” or “A warm gathering… calls for”? Anyone?

Sometimes when you’re trying to write something creative, you have to think out of the box. But not this far out of the box:

gets its apos diy 2

There’s that apostrophe again, used to form a plural this time. And for the third time in a single article, it’s wrong. Never has a little punctuation mark done so much and been so wrong.


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