Do you feel bad about your grammar?

The writer for Yahoo! Shine shouldn’t feel bad about herself for making this mistake — a lot of people (especially if they write for Yahoo!) make the same grammatical goof:

feel badly

As I’ve said before: If you’re trying to pick out a ripe peach by gently squeezing the fruit, but you’re wearing oven mitts, you might feel badly. If your emotional state is sad, depressed, anxious, or unhappy, you might feel bad.

Editor’s quick thinking saves headline

If only it were true. If only an editor had read this headline on Yahoo! Shine before it was published it might have included an apostrophe (for teens’) and the correct verb:

teens quick thinking shine

What helped he learn grammar?

Was it an English teacher in high school? An editor for the college paper? An English as a Second Language instructor? Who helped the writer for Yahoo! Sports learn grammar? And how can we stop that person?

helped he sports

This is what is sometimes called hypercorrection: The use of a word that sounds more intelligent, sophisticated, or erudite to the writer, but is actually incorrect. The correct word is him; it is the direct object of the verb helped and therefore the objective case is called for.

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.

Neither was looking

What happens when neither the writer nor the editor looks for grammatical mistakes? You get a mismatch of subject and verb, like this on Yahoo! Sports:

neither look sports

When the subject is two nouns joined by neither…nor, the verb should agree with the noun closer to it. In this case, it’s singular (Miami) and the verb should be singular, too (looks).

Surprise! It’s wrong

It’s no surprise that there’s a little subject-verb disagreement on the Yahoo! front page:

fp surprise

The subject, group, is singular; the correct verb is surprises.

Mick Jagger and the band deserve better

When I read something like this, which appears on the Yahoo! front page, I have to wonder what kindergarten dropout wrote this:

fp is forced

Is there any excuse for writing “is forced” instead of “are forced”? Anyone?

The rest of the errors

This sentence on the Yahoo! front page includes a grammatical gaffe. This is one of hundreds of Yahoo! sentences where the verb doesn’t agree with the subject, but the rest of the errors aren’t as easy to spot.

fp rest isnt

Some nouns that are singular in form, like rest, may have a plural meaning and take a plural verb. In this case, rest refers to more than one fast food chain, so its meaning is plural and the correct verb is aren‘t, not isn’t.

Not only bad

This sentence on the Yahoo! front page is so bad that I can’t imagine how anyone would think it passes muster:

fp not only but

The pair not only… but also is a correlative conjunction. It joins two like items, such as two verbs or two clauses. It can’t be used to join verbs (like “straightens and reduces frizz”) and an independent clause.

It should be:

A $25 gadget not only straightens hair and reduces frizz, but also improves hair texture the more it’s used.

Whom would you ask?

Whom would you ask for advice on grammar? I don’t think anyone would ask the writers and editors for Yahoo! Sports:

who you ask sports hp


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