It takes just one millisecond’s time to spot the missing apostrophe on Yahoo! News:
An apostrophe is required in what the Associated Press Stylebook calls a quasi possessive: 6 years’ time, one week’s pay, ten years’ experience.
The new site Yahoo! Style may be setting some records in the number and severity of errors that it displays every day. These errors from a recent article are among the most amateurish on the site:
The word amongst is a synonym for among. Is it wrong? Not exactly, but it’s just not as common in the U.S. as it is in other English-speaking countries. And Americans aren’t all that fond of the word. The OxfordWords blog sums up the sentiment of many Americans:
[M]any authorities (such as Garner’s Modern American Usage) and language blogs state that, in US English, amongst is now seen as old-fashioned, and even ‘pretentious’. If you are a US English speaker, therefore, and you don’t want to come across to your audience as out of date or, heaven forbid, linguistically la-di-da, then it’s advisable to opt for among.
As for the other error in that paragraph, I believe there’s a mismatch between the subject designer and the verb, which should be tells. I can’t be sure since there appears to be some extra words, but I think the writer promises to let us know what the designer is listening to. That is simply a lie. The interview that follows does not include any such info.
The interviewer was clearly in the dark about Josef Albers’ “Interaction of Color,” which is a book. The designer was also influenced by the Blaschkas, a father and son, and not just one misspelled person:
It would have been nice (and expected from a real site with any integrity) to check the references made by the person being interviewed. But this is Yahoo!, and journalistic integrity is not a priority.
Also not a priority? Punctuation. At least, correct punctuation is not a priority. Maybe someone will tell us about the process the writer has for distinguishing between a question and an imperative sentence:
You know all those lists of the Top 10 Writing Mistakes That Make You Look Like an Idiot? Those lists always include the common error of using its instead of it’s, or vice versa. Well, forget those lists because they neglect the most common mistake of all. It’s this one from Yahoo! Travel:
Be honest: Aren’t you guilty of making the same embarrassing error? Maybe that’s why they denied your application for Mensa.
Every day Yahoo! brings us a new and amusing spelling, punctuation, factual, or grammatical error. Today, it’s on the Yahoo! front page (as many of them are) and it’s a misspelling of lo and behold that I’ve never seen before:
Yahoo! staffers have spelled that expression as low and behold here and here. But the inclusion of an apostrophe — as if lo were a contraction — is one I’ve not seen before. The interjection lo is “used to attract attention or to show surprise” (American Heritage Dictionary). It’s not a contraction of a longer word; it is a word.
There are two hyphens and two apostrophes missing in this paragraph from Yahoo! Finance. Do you know where they go?
Correct! The hyphens belong in three-month (it’s a compound adjective modifying search) and 55-year-old. The apostrophes belong in what the Associated Press calls quasi possessives: ten years’ and three years’.
So, how did Yahoo! Answers get its name? Is it the result of consumer research? I really don’t know, but I do know that it’s not the best-written site on Yahoo!. Check out the mistakes in this one little paragraph, which include a contraction (it’s) instead of a possessive pronoun (its) and a noun (checkout) instead of a phrasal verb (check out):