How about a job at a mini market?

Writers who insist on creating plural nouns with an apostrophe should be relegated to jobs at the local mini market next to the Rotten Robbie gas station. That’s where you’ll see an error like this, taken from an article by a professional Yahoo! Style writer:

mothers apos style

You write the top, I’ll screw up the bottom

In this episode of “You Write the Top, I’ll Write the Bottom,” we see the results of two writers for the Yahoo! front page who can’t agree on the spelling of a rather important word to a headline:

fp eyeshadow

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, eye shadow is correct (although some dictionaries also allow eyeshadow). But that’s not all! There’s an apostrophe missing in pros: Depending on the number of pros involved, it should be either pro’s tips or pros’ tips.

One day’s worth of errors

This is just one error that showed up on Tuesday on Yahoo! Style:

7 days worth style

One day’s worth of writing errors would reveal a variety of goofs; seven days’ worth would be overwhelming.

I’m not the only one who’s confused

I’m totally confused — but not  as confused as the Yahoo! DIY writer who has an odd way with an apostrophe:

comin diy

She managed to correctly place an apostrophe in treatin’ to indicate the missing G. But she didn’t include one in comin; perhaps she thinks that’s a real word. But there’s no explanation for this: r’. What the heck is that? Is there a letter missing after the R that would make it a word?

And what’s up with that A before trick? Did she mean a-trick? If so, the hyphen seems to be another punctuation mark whose use totally eludes her. If you’re goin’ to be prefixin’ a verb with a-,  then the verb has to end in -ing: a-tricking.

I think that clears up some confusion for me. I have only one question left: Where the heck was the editor for this mess?

One shopper, many bodies?

Can one person have more than one body? And can a department store survive with only one shopper? These are the questions that have plagued me since reading this on Yahoo! Style:

shoppers style

‘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.

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.

What’s a cozy’s?

I don’t know what a cup cozy is, but I do know this isn’t its plural on Yahoo! DIY:

cozys apost diy

Seriously. What is wrong with the writers at DIY? They can’t seem to form a plural without an apostrophe and an S. The plural of cozy is cozies. No apostrophe.

It took a whole team to write this badly?

Here’s a shocking admission from Yahoo! Style: This article, and all its errors, was written by “Yahoo Style Editors.” Apparently it takes more than one editor to screw up this badly. In general first ladies doesn’t get capital-letter treatment (at least according to most authorities, including the Associated Press). And no authority would OK the use of an apostrophe in the plural houses. (But no article from Style would be complete without at least one apostrophe in a plural):

fl 1

One of those “Yahoo Style Editors” really ought to be able to spell the name of every U.S. president, so one of them should be able to spell every president’s wife’s name, too. Like Nancy Reagan:

fl 2

I kinda think that’s inexcusable. And I’m horrified that the writers think that Hillary Clinton was inaugurated in 1997. She never had her own inauguration. She did, however, attend her husband’s 1997 inauguration.

Those “editors” could use a little tutelage in the use of a spell-checker:

fl 3

Lordie, lordie. Doesn’t anyone in the group of “Yahoo Style Editors” know how to spell? Or use a dictionary? Or a spell-checker?

fl 4

And finally there’s just one more lie they have to tell. (It’s probably not a lie so much as an inability for the combined brains of “Yahoo Style Editors” to understand words of more than two syllables.) Mrs. Clinton did not wear an embellished gown to her husband’s second term ceremony. She wore one to her husband’s second-term Inaugural Ball.

Back to school for you!

Could the writer of this module on the Yahoo! front page be a college graduate? I’m not sure. I’d expect a college graduate to know that an apostrophe is required in “Parents college debt nightmare”:

fp college debt

I’d expect that a college graduate could read an article and summarize it accurately. And that’s when I realized that perhaps this writer is still in high school, struggling with understanding text written for a tenth grader. That’s how I’d explain the allegation that these parents owe a huge sum “nearly a decade after the graduation.” Since the parents have more than one daughter, I wanted to know whose graduation was a decade ago. So I read the article and learned that these folks borrowed the money a decade ago — not that their daughters graduated a decade ago.

To the writer, I’d say, stay in school and get that high school diploma. To readers of, I say don’t believe what you read.


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