I should have stopped reading

I shouldn’t have read more than this headline on Yahoo! Style:

our stories 1

I should have known that if the headline contains one humongous goof, the article itself is going to be a disaster. The huge mistake in the headline? The article is about a retailer called & Other Stories. How bad is that? Bad. But it gets worse.

At least in the opening paragraph, the writer manages to use the correct words for the retailer, though she does close up the space after the ampersand:

our stories 2

But she drops the the in what should be “in the U.S.” and the hyphen that’s required in brand-new. Maybe the writer is a recent arrival to the States and doesn’t realize that it’s capitalized when referring to the United States.

When it’s a noun or an adjective, must-have must have a hyphen:

our stories 3

This could be a simple typo (names instead of named), but the use of the pronoun their without any known antecedent is just wrong:

our stories 4

How do you explain the misspelling of a product when it appears below a picture of the product?

our stories 5

The final sentence of the article doesn’t disappoint: One hardly ever sees the use of a plural verb with the singular everything:

our stories 6

That was not good. I knew when I read the headline I should have stopped reading. My bad.

It’s not nice to lie to readers

When is a little inaccuracy really a lie? When it’s accompanied by several other “inaccuracies.” Maybe the writer for the new site Yahoo! DIY didn’t mean to lie to her readers. Maybe she was just fibbing a little when she told them all they’d need for this project was a hammer and candles:

chandelier 1

That little white lie gets exposed as a big fat lie when you read the list of materials and tools:

chandelier 2

Overlook the random capital letters in the list and the quirky categorization of masking tape as a “tool.” The issue is, there’s more to this DIY project than the writer let on. But wait! There’s more!

Here’s a picture that the writer provided of some (or all?) of the tools and materials you’ll need:

chandelier 3

Did she forget to tell readers that they’d also need a miter box and a hacksaw?

Would you trust Yahoo! DIY for instructions on your next do-it-yourself project? I didn’t think so.

Capitalizing on Elle Macpherson

Wouldn’t you think that if you wrote for one of the most visited pages in the world that you’d be required to check the spelling of every name — no, make that every word — you publish? But it’s just not the case over at yahoo.com, where writers didn’t bother verifying the capitalization of Elle Macpherson’s name:

fp macpherson

Seriously? No one could take 15 seconds to check that?

What does a tick say?

Just skip over the capitalized syndrome, and head right to the verbal ticks in this excerpt from Yahoo! Travel:

verbal ticks

A verbal tick is one of these guys who actually speaks:

tic pic

The uncontrollable outbursts of words from those with Tourette’s are verbal tics.

Better to write nonsense than to write nothing at all

This is it. This is all the writer for Yahoo! Style had to say about an auction, and look at how many mistakes she managed to make saying it:

willie nelson hair style

Since the auction was from Waylon Jennings’ estate, don’t you think she could take 15 seconds and confirm his real name? No matter. Better to write the wrong name than take the time to find the right name. Then there’s the claim that this isn’t the first time hair went for record prices. Prices? Did Mr. Nelson’s hair sell for more than one price? Or is the writer just really careless with her words?

Of course, no article from Yahoo! Style is complete without at least one factual error. First she claims that $37,000 was a record price for hair, and then she tells us that Justin Bieber’s hair sold for over $41,000. I guess it’s better to make a ridiculous, obviously erroneous claim than to state the facts.

Ellen DeGeneres’ name isn’t a mangled as it could be and a animal could charitably called a typo. But the sum of these errors is clear: Here’s someone who writes without regard for accuracy.  Maybe it’s better to write badly and be paid than to not write at all?

It just goes from bad to more bad

This headline was my first indication that the article on Yahoo! Style was not going to go well:

ed pick 1

The new ’60s-inspired pieces you need now? I think they involve a correctly placed an apostrophe (which shouldn’t be used to form the plural) and a hyphen.

Things only got worse. It’s hard to imagine what went through the writer’s mind when she pounded out this:

ed pick 2

It’s pretty clear that makes and reminds should be make and remind (because their subject is surfboards) and that summer isn’t a proper noun. But what could be wrong with wool sweater? The answer lies in the handy caption for the sweater that the writer provided:

ed pick 3

WTF? How did the writer screw up that badly? It’s a freakin’ linen sweater, not a wool one!

This writer is just obsessed with wool sweaters, to the point of lying about the actual material of her recommendations:

ed pick 4

First, let’s look at the helpful information the writer supplied because the alleged black stripe is actually navy:

ed pick 5

And is it mohair? Of course not! It’s nylon and acrylic. The writer just likes to make up her own little facts.

Do you know how difficult it is to find the correct spelling of gray? Luckily you don’t have to. In the U.S., it gets an A; in other English-speaking countries, the preferred spelling is grey:

ed pick 55

Again the writer proves that she’s grammatically challenged, unable to identify a plural subject (shape and color) and match it to a verb (which should be are).

When not making up information about sweaters, the writer likes to be creative about pants:

ed pick 6

What could possible wrong with that? The pattern is called dogtooth and the pants aren’t cropped, even though the writer just can’t let go of the whole crop pants thing:

ed pick 7

Geez. This just keeps getting worse. There’s a missing hyphen in must-have, fall is capitalized erroneously, and this sentence makes no sense:

ed pick 8

I don’t know what this means nor what FW means:

ed pick 9

Think it can’t get worse? Think again:

ed pick 85

The handbag is not made from box leather; it’s a leather box bag.And it was seen from a lot of famous people.

I have to keep reminding myself that this article was written by a professional writer, someone who is actually paid real money to write this crap:

ed pick 10

That’s someone who doesn’t know the difference between its and it’s. Who doesn’t know to end a sentence with a period (a comma just won’t do) and stick a hyphen in cat-eye.

It started off with a mistake and just kept piling ‘em on. It went from bad to more bad and more bad.

I would decline the honer

If this was meant to honor Stevie Nicks and I were the singer, I’d say “no thanks, Yahoo! Style.”

stevie nicks style

I’m not impressed by a writer who doesn’t know how to hyphenate 66-year-old. Who doesn’t care about repeated words. And who is too lazy to look up the actual name of Ms. Nicks’ song. (It’s “Rhiannon.”) Apparently the writer thinks flapper and goth are worthy of capital letters, but honor isn’t worth a spell-check.

This is not an honor. It’s an insult to the subject and to the readers.

You write the top, I’ll write the bottom

In this episode of “You Write the Top, I’ll Write the Bottom” from the Yahoo! front page, we witness the confusion over the capitalization of eBay when it starts a headline:

fp ebay

Real news sites have standards that explain how to treat a word in camel case (that is, when it contains a capital letter between the first and last letters) when it starts a sentence. I guess Yahoo! doesn’t believe in standards for its writers.

Did you out a word?

Do you proofread your pearls to make sure you haven’t left out a word? Why risk the embarrassment that a Yahoo! News writer is facing with the claim that “Suspect in missing Virginia student linked to…”:

embassy news

You might also do a little research to make sure you haven’t undercapitalized a word, such as embassy, which should have an initial cap when it’s preceded by the country’s name. According to Associated Press style, it’s the Ethiopian Embassy, the American Embassy, but an embassy.

I read this so you don’t have to

I read Yahoo! Style so you don’t have to. And I report on just the worst of the many gaffes committed by Yahoo!’s writers. And these excerpts from a single article are some of the worst.

It starts with the misspelled America Ferrera and goes on to a couple of repeated words. The movie title gets no special treatment (which is usually italics or quotation marks at Yahoo!, there being no company standard). There’s an expression the writer misuses; it tripped her up. (Apparently she didn’t know it’s not the same as simply tripping.) What kind of nut was involved in this story? Beats me. It’s not OK not to capitalize OK; and it’s not OK to capitalize goddess:

trip style 1

I thought I was reading a story about Kim Kardashian, who was nearly trampled in a crowd. But (or nut?) it was a security guard who was nearly the victim. (The other victim is the reader of this piece, where the misplaced modifier produces unlikely results.) You’d think that a professional writing about style and fashion would know how to spell Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s name, but you would be wrong:

trip style 2

During the fashion show, the front row was set to a soundtrack. I guess that’s better than being set on fire, but not as good as a show set to a soundtrack. Anyhoo, it hardly matters since the music included a song that the writer claims is “Stop Pressuring Me.” There is no song by that name. However there is a tune with the lyric “stop pressuring me” and it’s called “Scream.” Then there’s a teensy word missing, but that’s really not important in light of the other embarrassments:

trip style 3

I read this stuff so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

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