That doesn’t mean she’s sociable

Readers in the English-speaking world defy the writers/editors/proofreaders at and object to this mismatching of subject and verb:

fp defies

They also object to the use of socialist to refer Ms. Hidalgo. She is a member of the Socialist Party. That means she is a Socialist, not that she is gregarious, outgoing, and sociable.

Not quite that major

It’s not a big deal, but it’s also not correct on Yahoo! Sports:

teres major sports

Muscles in the human body are common nouns, although a few are capitalized because they include a person’s name, like Bell’s muscle and Horner’s muscle.

You write the top, I’ll write the bottom

I’ve finally figured out why there are so many inconsistencies on the Yahoo! front page. Why a word is written with and without quotation marks. Or the plural of an acronym has an uppercase and a lowercase S. And why you’ll see both Batkid and BatKid together. And you’ll see both drug test and drug-test. And now bitcoin and Bitcoin:

fp bitcoin

How does that happen? I’m guessin’ that one person writes the headline below the big picture and someone else who works for an entirely different company writes the brief head at the bottom.

It’s a veritable gold mine of goofs

How many goofs can you find in this one sentence on the home page of Yahoo! Music?

extra-martial music

I found three: The undercapitalized first word, the hysterically misspelled extramarital, and the mashed-up gold mine.

Uncommon phenomena

Here’s what happens when you try to use fancy words without heading to a dictionary first: You can look as foolish and pretentious as the writer for Yahoo! Shine who pounded out this:

phenomena shine

If the writer really meant a single occurrence or event, she should have used phenomenon, which is singular. Its plural is phenomena (although some dictionaries allow phenomenons in informal, nonscientific writing). It’s like criteria (the plural of criterion) and automata (the plural of automaton, though automatons is also acceptable).

Also, if you don’t know if a word like, um, say, maybe normcore is a proper noun and you decide to treat it both with and without a capital letter, you look more than foolish — you look careless and a bit dim.

SEALs the deal

It looks like two people wrote this teaser on the Yahoo! front page and they couldn’t agree on the plural of SEAL:

fp seals

A SEAL is a member of the United States Navy’s Sea, Air, and Land team. The plural, according to the U.S. Navy’s website, is SEALs.

A news source you can trust?

How many typos, misspellings, and wrong word choices does it take before you question the credibility of a news article? If the article is written by a Yahoo! News staffer, I start with an attitude of skepticism, which is buttressed by the errors that are sure to be there.

I can count on there being at least one homophonic error. In this article, the writer claims an ice sculpture was discretely wheeled into a hotel suite:

cpac 1

Unless that sculpture was delivered in bits of ice cubes, it was brought in discreetly, so as not to attract attention.

A typo in a photo caption isn’t the worst thing you’ll find in the article:

cpac 2

But a second homophonic error just might be:

cpac 3

Perhaps it’s a rite of passage at Yahoo! News: You can’t get a byline until you’ve made at least three boneheaded mistakes in a single article.

Here’s a makeshift spelling of makeshift:

cpac 4

There’s nothing wrong with this paragraph except for the arbitrarily capitalized former and the spelling of Dinesh D’Souza and Cathy McMorris Rodgers:

cpac 5

Two of those mistakes would get you sent to the woodshed in a legitimate news organization. But wait! There’s more! Here, the writer claims there was a big band consisting of 16 pieces:

cpac 7

and yet in the photo caption, he’s added a musician:

cpac 6

Perhaps the writer was enjoying the contents of the kegerator when he wrote this:

cpac 8

and then forgot that if you use a dollar sign, you shouldn’t also use the word bucks (because that would be “20 dollars bucks”):

cpac 9

So, I’m not trustin’ too much (if anything) I read from this author. I guess for some, getting an article published is all that matters:

cpac 10

You did it once

If you know to capitalize Democratic once, shouldn’t you know to capitalize it twice? Not if you work for the Yahoo! front page:

fp dem lc uc

This makes me feel old

Maybe it’s because I remember my first Walkman. Maybe it’s because I come from a generation that values the ability to communicate effectively and accurately in writing. Whatever the reason, reading this on Yahoo! Shine just made be feel old:

walkmans shine

I suspect that the writer is from a different, younger generation from mine. That may explain why she doesn’t know that Walkman is a trademark and not a generic term. It might explain the random comma, because rules of punctuation seem to elude the young’ums. But I’d expect her to know how to spell Gangnam and for her to be able to identify the first names of Benny and Rafi Fine. Or is that asking too much?

I wish I could call it a compliment

Yahoo! News is the armpit of online media. That’s not a compliment. It’s just a reaction I had to this made-up word that appears in a very large headline on the site:

nj 1

Residents of New Jersey are New Jerseyans or New Jerseyites.

So, OK, the writer made up a word. Is that worse than making up rules for the use of the comma, and randomly sprinkling that punctuation in a sentence?

nj 2

Probably not. It’s not worse than this:

nj 3

If you’re trying to be sarcastic, you have to be scrupulous in your use of language; otherwise, readers will think your sarcasm is just one more careless or ignorant mistake. This attempt at sarcasm fails because the writer doesn’t know the difference between it’s (for “it is” or “it has”) and the possessive its. If the writer had mentioned that the state is famous for its even-keeled, milquetoast residents, then it might have been seen as an attempt at humor.


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