What’s going on at Yahoo?

There’s something really weird going on at yahoo.com. The number of bone-headed mistakes on that page has exploded. Is it a new writing staff? A bunch of interns hired for the summer? Outsourcing to a non-English-speaking country? Here’s just some of the things spotted on today’s Yahoo! front page.

If the marathon you’re writing about is in Boston, it’s the Boston Marathon (with a big M). That’s not the only thing I’d quibble about, though. I can’t say I agree with the statement that “retrievers are used to distract” people. There are many, many documented benefits to petting a dog, including lowering blood pressure:

fp marathon

Here’s a use of chide that’s new to me: It’s used as a transitive verb (meaning it has a direct object, in this case decision), so it means “to reprimand or scold mildly.” I don’t think anyone was chiding the decision — the person who made the decision, maybe was chided.

fp chided

Ah, the old subject-verb disagreement. There can’t be any disagreement that the subject is tenor and the verb should be is. Also, there’s that dangling modifier at the beginning of the sentence, which appears to modify tenor (which makes no sense), though it likely should modify the writing on the boat:

fp tenor are

OK, here’s a mystery for you: What was Iran stockpiling? Government cheese? This doesn’t contain a grammatical or spelling error. This is what is known as an error of omission: It tells you nothing.

fp stockpile

I almost spit out my sugar-free, nonfat vanilla latte when I read this:

fp cafe

The name of that café is a mouthful, n’est-ce pas? The hilarity continues when you realize that the poor French-challenged writer has mashed up Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots.

If you’re reading something online right now (and I think you are), then according to Yahoo!, that is the reason you procrastinate. It is not what you do when you procrastinate, it is the cause of the procrastination. Good to know.

fp procrastinate

Here’s one you can disagree with, but according to the American Heritage Dictionary, the preferred spelling in the U.S. is disk:

fp disc

And we’re back to that old bugaboo — matching a subject (series) with its verb (hint: it shouldn’t be show):

fp series show

Finally, there’s another preferred spelling: light-years (with a hyphen):

fp light years

Whew! That’s all for now. And by that I mean, I’m going to go get two Advils and lie down.

That’s not nice

It’s not nice to laugh and point at others who have stumbled. Case in point, the writer for Yahoo! News’ “Trending Now” who has a little problem with English:

case and point ledge

I point this out to be instructive: The idiom is case in point.  And any father would be wise to keep a baby off a building’s ledge. But it wasn’t a ledge that was attracting the toddler; it was a balcony.  As Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.

I’m a writer, not a mathematician!

There are lots of examples of the failure of Yahoo! writers to do basic arithmetic. Now we have proof that not only can they not add or subtract numbers, but they also can’t tell which of two numbers is greater: 229 or 127. Here’s the sad evidence on Yahoo! Shine:

lose shine

And then I stopped reading

It wasn’t a typo, a misspelling, or a grammar gaffe that stopped me from reading this article on Yahoo! News — it was the fact that the writer didn’t know if he was writing about an interview in Fortune magazine or Forbes magazine:

fortune forbes news

If the writer gets a basic fact like that wrong, what else has he screwed up? I don’t know because I stopped reading when I read this. If I really want the facts, I’ll read the original interview in Fortune. Or Forbes.

See pictures before it happens!

Now on Yahoo! Shine you can view pictures of Prince George in “the Australia,” days before he actually arrives!

the australia

Prince George and his parents are scheduled to visit “the Australia” on April 16, but Shine has pictures now of his visit, six days before he arrives!

Is David Ortiz out of sports?

David “Big Papi” Ortiz has a special relationship with Boston. You’d think that it would have something to do with his job as a DH for the Boston Red Sox, but it has nothing to do with “the world of sports,” as they say over at the Yahoo! front page:

fp world of sports

If you don’t find it in the world of sports, does that mean Mr. Ortiz has left Fenway Park and baseball? Perhaps the geniuses at yahoo.com really mean that the relationship is rare or even unique in the world of sports.

Writer always hasn’t had a way with words

Who would have suspected that hunky Jon Hamm has never, ever “had a way with the ladies,” as they say in 1940s films? Well, that’s what the writer for Yahoo! Celebrity alleges:

always hasnt had omg

It’s funny, if you were to change the order of words, Mr. Hamm comes off looking like a Don Juan: The “Mad Men” star apparently hasn’t always had a way with the ladies. I think that sounds a lot more likely.

Was it held in the basement?

Holding a panel discussion in the foundation of the George Bush Presidential Library sounds a little dark and dreary to me. But that’s where it’s happening, if you believe what you read on the Yahoo! front page:

fp foundation

Of course, I know you’re all skeptical of what you read on yahoo.com. As well you should be. The George Bush Presidential Library Foundation is a nonprofit organization supporting the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. So, it’s kinda hard to imagine how you could hold an event at a foundation, unless you mean the cellar of a building.

How could DeSean Jackson do that?

Is DeSean Jackson fighting his team colors? According to yahoo.com (that trusted source of up-to-the-minute news), Mr. Jackson took his team colors and changed them into a foe:

fp change colors

I could understand if he changed his team colors to the colors of a “bitter in-division foe.” Or if he changed his team colors to those of a “bitter in-division foe.” But that’s not what Yahoo! is telling us. And Yahoo! is never wrong.

I’m pretty sure the country is older than that

If you’re a reader who’s not familiar with American history, this phrase on Yahoo! Celebrity might not strike you as a tad off:

us 60th omg

But I suspect that even a yurt-dwelling Turkmen would question whether the U.S. is only 60 years old. In fact, it was the Humane Society of the United States that had the 60th anniversary event.

Here’s a hint to editors and proofreaders: It’s not enough to check for spelling and punctuation errors. You might want to make sure that every sentence actually makes sense.

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