Dem’s da breaks

Someone needs to fix this breaks on Yahoo! Travel:

breaks travel

Dem breaks should be brakes, which is the stuff that’ll stop your car.

Nothing says ‘I don’t give a crap’ like umf

There’s lots of bad writing on the Internet, even by paid professionals. And when they don’t give a crap about their writing, you’ll likely see factual errors, misspellings, and incorrect word choices. That’s what I was thinking when I read this on Yahoo! Travel:

breakfast travel 1

This is allegedly about something called “Hearty Eggs,” but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s really about haggis. It’s clear the writer was a tad confused about her subject, just as she was confused about the difference between further and farther, the word that refers to real, physical distance.

But nothing says “I don’t give a sh*t” like umf, which I take to be a lazy writer’s attempt at oomph. Umf is not a word, but it is an abbreviation and according to the Urban Dictionary it means “ugly motherf***er,” which I don’t think the writer meant. Although if she reads this, she may be thinking that.

That is not right

Abbreviations are handy little devices for communicating quickly and for conserving precious space online. But some abbreviations are so often misused that they’re not worth the time and space savings. That’s the case with the abbreviations i.e. and e.g., as illustrated by Yahoo! Style:

ie style

Even if the writer had included the period after the E and a comma after the entire abbreviation, it would still be wrong. The abbreviation stands for the Latin id est, which means that is. The writer meant e.g., the abbreviation used before an example.

These abbreviations are not only used incorrectly by most writers, but they’re also misunderstood by 90% of all readers. So why risk using the wrong abbreviation and confounding your readers? There are simple words (e.g., that is or for example) that you can use with confidence.

Oooh, nice figure you got there, Kate

What kind of compliment would a “high waist and color blocking” pay to Kate Winslet’s figure? That’s the question we all want answered after reading this on Yahoo! Movies:

compliment celeb

When you say something nice, you compliment a person. When two things go well together, they complement each other.

Not on the right track

If you need another reason not to trust what you read on Yahoo! Health, consider this:

gi track health

The writer gets a passing grade for correctly spelling gastrointestinal, but a big fat F for track. When you’re writing about anatomy, the word is tract. If you’re writing about a railroad, use track.

Getting tangled up in the wrong chord

Kids these days! What with all their cell phones and their smartphones, they probably don’t know that at one time, phones had cords. And if they write for Yahoo! Style, they certainly don’t know that the cords didn’t include an H:

chord style

Take a peak at this!

Take a peak at Yahoo! Style:

sneak peak style

No, really. Take a peak and replace it with a peek, because that’s the word that means “to glance quickly or peer furtively.”

What can you sell from a bike?

Grab a bike and get peddling! That’s the advice from Yahoo! Travel:

peddling travel

What exactly can you sell — legally — from a bike? And if it’s not a legal substance, you’d better be prepared to get pedaling, because that’s the only way to make time on a bike.

It’s not pulling a rope

The expression is “toe the line,” and it means to conform to a standard or rule. It’s what the writer for Yahoo! Style should do:

tow the line style

Suffice it to say, this is not good

It looks like there’ll be lots of material for Terribly Write in the new Yahoo! Style. Here’s a random snippet that offers lessons in writing for all of us:

paring style

Lesson 1: If you’re writing about fashion, learn to spell the names of designers and fashion labels, like Emporio Armani. Misspelling something so basic marks you as careless — or worse.

Lesson 2: Suffice it to say, make sure you get common idioms right.

Lesson 3: Pairing misspellings with homophonic errors makes you look uneducated. Know the difference between pare (which means to trim) and pair (which doesn’t).

Lesson 4: If you mean socks with white laces, then write “white-laced socks.” If you mean socks with white lace, don’t.


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