Wrecking havoc with the language

Yahoo! just launched a new site called Yahoo! Style. I immediately thought that it must be better written than the rest of Yahoo!; after all, it was new! Wouldn’t the Internet giant invest in the quality of the writing of a new site? Wouldn’t Yahoo! finally hire competent editors to ensure the success of Style? I was hopeful as I jumped at the opportunity to read an article by Style’s editor in chef. Now there’s a person who must appreciate the need for quality writing.

The title promised info on dressing for extreme temperatures, so I’m thinking the heat of summer and the cold of the dead of winter:

how to dress style

By the time I’d finished the article, I’d learned about dressing for heat and for that other temperature extreme — rain. But I shouldn’t have been surprised that the writer (the editor in chief!) couldn’t figure out what he was supposed to be writing about. The more I read the more I realized he probably couldn’t figure out what language he was supposed to be writing in.

Here he takes a serious subject like global warming and reveals its true threat to humanity: It wrecks havoc on fashion:

wrecked havoc style

Well, wrecking havoc sounds good to me; that would be destroying chaos. It’d be much worse if it were wreaking (or bringing about) havoc.

Then, I read this use of then instead of than:

then seersucker style

I’m going to try to ignore the advice, which doesn’t exactly seem like it’s meant for the woman of the twenty-first century, and focus on the writing, which kinda sucks:

wearing is wearing style

When I read this, I thought wearing cotton over silk sounded odd for dressing for hot weather:

allows to breath style

But the writer (the editor in chief!) meant “prefer cotton over silk.” The rest of the stream-of-consciousness writing alleges that cottons allows [sic] the body to breath. Believe me, if your body ain’t breathing, wearing cotton isn’t going to help. The writer meant that cotton is preferable because cotton breaths (that is, it allows air to pass through it).

So, am I hopeful that Yahoo! Style will provide quality content? Not if it’s written by Yahoo! writers (and the editor in chief).

At least you got the color right

Ya’ gotta give props to the Yahoo! TV writer for getting half of this right:

jumper tv 1

In the UK, this is a red jumper:

red jumper uk

In the U.S., this is a red jumper:

red jumper us

And this is what Ed Sheeran, as Little Orphan Annie, wore:

jumper tv 2

That is what is called a red dress.

Your simile went over like a lead balloon

A simile is a great literary device to add color and interest to your writing. Unless you’re writing like this Yahoo! Travel scribe, whose simile goes over like a lead balloon:


Why? Because Kleenex is not tissue paper; it’s called just plain ol’ tissue or facial tissue. This pink stuff is tissue paper:

tissue paper


First, learn to read

You’d think that the ability to read a simple sentence would be a requirement for a position of writer at yahoo.com. I don’t think it is. How else do you explain this claim about an article on “offbeat shrines” and “wacky food museums”?

fp museums

Here’s the title of the article:


If by “offbeat shrines” the writer means “factories,” then that’s accurate. If by “wacky food museums” the writer means “factories,” then that’s accurate, too.

Perhaps someone will read the article to the yahoo.com writer, since that seems beyond the scope of the job (or maybe just the writer’s abilities).

Sometimes I just have to say it

Sometimes I just have to say it: This is idiotic. This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read on a supposed news site:

tank in texas

As if I needed more evidence that Yahoo! is outsourcing writing of Yahoo! News to non-English-speaking countries, we have this. The writer obviously thinks a tank is the same thing as a tanker. This is a tank (courtesy of Wikipedia):


The vessel in the Yahoo! News picture is a tanker. It is a ship. It holds oil. It travels in the ocean. It could not disappear in Texas since Texas is not an ocean.

The tanker disappeared off the coast of Texas.

Sounds like labor to me

OK. So here’s what happened (according to Yahoo! Travel): A woman went into labor on a plane, her contractions were one minute apart, and there were fears she would go into labor:

birth travel

Anyone else as confused as I am? The confusion arises from the writer who can’t quite figure out what she read in the Daily Mail. But I can. According to the Daily Mail, there were fears the woman would GIVE BIRTH on the plane because SHE WAS ALREADY IN LABOR.

Should someone else apologize?

Richard Dawkins apologized for comments he made about Down’s syndrome. I wonder if he was as challenged as the scribes at yahoo.com to spell it correctly:

fp downs syndrome

The National Down Syndrome Society and the National Association for Down Syndrome  call it (not surprisingly) Down syndrome. The American Heritage Dictionary calls Down’s syndrome a variant of Down syndrome.

Did the writer (and the editor, assuming there was one) just trust that they knew how to spell and capitalize Down syndrome? Maybe they should apologize for their mistake.

Subject-matter experts need not apply

Shouldn’t it be a requirement that a food writer know something about the basic tools and appliances of cooking? Not at Yahoo! Food, where writers aren’t required to know what an oven is:

oven burner food

That’s not an oven burner roasting the corn. It’s the burner of a range, a stove,  or maybe a cooktop. An oven burner is inside an oven:

oven burner 2

Graphic: http://www.appliance411.com

Face it: You goofed

After reading this on Yahoo! TV you might ask yourself how facing an audience or camera could prevent singer Sia from becoming famous:

face tv

Does she wear a mask? No. Then what’s the explanation? It’s simple: The writer made a mistake. A big mistake. Sia doesn’t face the audience or camera, she turns her back to them.

I’m a writer, not a mathematician!

Is there any way to keep Yahoo!’s writers from writing about anything that includes a number? They can’t add, can’t count simple objects, can’t tell which of two numbers is larger, and don’t get me started on their inability to subtract one number from another. So, it was no surprise to me that the writer for Yahoo! Travel couldn’t convert square meters to square feet:

three sq ft

The box in question is a phone box (what we Americans call a phone booth). I thought that three square feet seemed awfully small for the box’s floor. The box is actually .8 square meters, which is about 8.6 square feet. Don’t ask me how the writer came up with her number. I think she made it up.


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