In spite of the fact that it ends with an S, the word news is considered to be a singular noun that takes a singular verb. At least that’s what the American Heritage Dictionary says, but not what you’ll see on Yahoo! Travel:
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?
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?
This article on Yahoo! Travel may be about the best zoos in the United States, but it represents some of the worst travel writing on the Internet. It’s shocking the number of mistakes made by someone who is a “managing editor” and an experienced travel writer.
This is how bad it can get:
It’s not an orange-colored, artificially flavored breakfast drink. It’s an orangutan. And the zoo calls it the Stingray Beach, with a capital B.
How did she screw this up so badly? The zoo is the Saint Louis Zoo and it’s in St. Louis, Missouri. Don’t go on a Saturday or Sunday expecting to see a concert. Although the writer claims concerts occur every weekend, they really occur only on Fridays and only between May 23 and August 29. Then there’s the case of the subject (admission) and its verb (which the writer thinks should be are):
The problem is, if she used the correct verb (is), then she’s got a really awkward sentence. That’s because she misplaced both. It belongs before “the zoo and the concert”: … admission to both the zoo and the concert is free.
I was expecting that if I went to this zoo, I’d be able to do more than just see the wolf cubs. Maybe I could bottle-feed them. Or dress them in coats and ties.
Again, the writer misplaced a modifier; this time it’s just. It should be: You won’t see just three cuddly wolf cubs; you’ll also see, etc., etc. etc.
How does a travel writer writing about zoos get another zoo’s name wrong? It’s Riverbanks Zoo and Garden (it’s not Zoos and it’s not Botanical):
OK, so maybe someone will explain to me how this project will create a new grizzly bear:
Would you trust the information in this article?
Long-time readers of Terribly Write know all too well that many Yahoo! writers are grammatically challenged. Here’s more proof from Yahoo! TV:
Oy! When it comes to words based on Italian, they’re even more challenged. The word paparazzi is plural; its singular is paparazzo. A paparazzo is “a freelance photographer who doggedly pursues celebrities to take candid pictures for sale to magazines and newspapers” (American Heritage Dictionary). The word is taken from the name Paparazzo, a character who was a photographer in Federico Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita.
As for the end of that paragraph: I have no idea what that is supposed to mean. None.