Fewer would be better

You know what would make Yahoo! Travel better? Fewer errors.

less deals travel

If the writers and editors wanted to be scrupulously correct, they’d appreciate the difference between fewer (which is used for countable things like deals and promotions and errors) and less (which is used for stuff you can’t count individually, like water and music).

Of course, it wouldn’t be English if there weren’t some exceptions. Nouns of time, money, and distance are described by less, not fewer: less than two hours, less than ten dollars, less than three miles.

If the premise is wrong, the conclusion is wrong

The premise is a proposition that a conclusion is drawn from. It is not a single building, even if the writer for Yahoo! Travel thinks it is:

premise travel

A building, the land it sits on, or both the building and the land would be premises. With an S.

A historic mistake. Again

What is it about the word historic that makes the yahoo.com writers lose all sense? This would be correct only if they pronounce the word as istoric (and I’m not sayin’ they don’t):

fp an historic 2

The indefinite article an goes before a word that starts with a vowel sound, regardless the word’s first letter. So, in the U.S., it’s an herb (since we don’t pronounce the H), but in the U.K. it’s a herb (since they do).

What’s missing from this face-off?

Two people might face off in a face-off. What’s missing on the Yahoo! front page is a hyphen in the noun face-off:

fp face off

Neanderthals among us

Neanderthals live! And I don’t mean those crude twits who lick their fingers after eating Buffalo wings. I’m talking about the species that we all thought was extinct. Not so! According to the Yahoo! front page, Neanderthals live among us:

fp live

It would still be wrong

Even if the writer for Yahoo! Movies had remembered to put the hyphen in run-in, the word would still be wrong:

run in omg 1

A run-in is a quarrel or argument; it’s not a casual meeting.

But aside from that, what mistakes did the writer make? There’s some problem with familiar faces, because the writer implies that Lindsay Lohan and Tina Fey share the same face:

run in omg 2

This writer really has issues with punctuation. She puts an erroneous apostrophe is Wednesdays and puts a semicolon within quotation marks. In U.S. English, two punctuation characters never, ever go before a closing quotation mark: a colon and a semicolon.

Will Johnny Manziel be on the field?

If footballer Johnny Manziel stands on the sideline, is he in the field of play?

fp sideline

Generally, inactive players stand on the sidelines. A sideline (without the S) is a line that marks the limit of a field or court, which is where the folks at yahoo.com think he’ll be.

Is that like a newborn?

If you read this excerpt from Yahoo! Travel, you probably think that “old” refers to old people, like senior citizens. Then what does “new” refer to? New people?

old and new travel

I think the writer really meant “old and young,” but I can never be sure when it comes anything I read on Yahoo!.

One of these things is not like the others

Geez, is it really that hard to write a list of three items and not screw it up? Well, it may be — at least for the folks at the Yahoo! front page. Can you spot the mistake here?

fp plays a cheerleader

That’s a list or a series with nonparallel items — items that are not the same or equivalent parts of speech. There’s a verb (plays), a noun (ballerina), and another verb (raps). The writer could have fixed the grammatical gaffe by using three verbs in the series:

plays a cheerleader, imitates a ballerina, and even raps

Or the writer could have tried this:

plays a cheerleader and a ballerina and even raps

That wasn’t so hard, was it?

No, I’d figure it would happen to a person

If chaotic events happened to anyone, then they would happen to a human being, since anyone means “any person.” A city or a baseball team is not an “anyone,” despite what you read on the Yahoo! front page:

fp anyone


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