Lightening the load

After I got over my horror at seeing the pronoun it used to refer to the plural planes, I thought I was more or less immune to the writing mistakes I was sure to find in this article on Yahoo! Travel:

lightening travel

But I was wrong. I’m appalled that a professional writer thinks that lightening is something that can strike a plane. It is not. It is the act of making a plane lighter. The scary stuff in the sky is lightning.

Neither writer nor editor knows grammar

If you’re a professional writer, you might be able to get away with poor grammar — if you have the services of a competent editor. But, if you write for the Yahoo! front page, don’t count on it:

fp neither know

Neither the writer nor the editor (assuming there is one) knows that the verb must agree with the noun closer to it when the subject is joined by neither…nor.

As if he were right

Let’s assume that the writer for the Yahoo! front page is male. He wrote this as if he were right in using the indicative mood of the verb:

fp as if he was

If he wanted to be absolutely grammatically correct, he would have used the subjunctive mood, which states something contrary to fact: as if he were.

Did you mean one-dollar bills?

Imagine what 426,000,000,000 one-dollar bills look like. Then imagine people spending those individual paper bills on beauty products. That’s what they did, according to Yahoo! Beauty:

dollars were spent

The writer is so funny! She probably doesn’t even realize what she wrote, as opposed to what she meant. She meant an amount of money, which is singular. So even though it looks like a lot and it looks like a plural, $426 billion is singular and takes the singular verb was spent.

It’s news to me

In spite of the fact that it ends with an S, the word news is considered to be a singular noun that takes a singular verb. At least that’s what the American Heritage Dictionary says, but not what you’ll see on Yahoo! Travel:

news have travel

Subject and verb raise questions

The plural subject (news and reaction) and singular verb raise questions about the competency of the writers and editors on the Yahoo! front page:

fp raises

One of these things is not like the others

Geez, is it really that hard to write a list of three items and not screw it up? Well, it may be — at least for the folks at the Yahoo! front page. Can you spot the mistake here?

fp plays a cheerleader

That’s a list or a series with nonparallel items — items that are not the same or equivalent parts of speech. There’s a verb (plays), a noun (ballerina), and another verb (raps). The writer could have fixed the grammatical gaffe by using three verbs in the series:

plays a cheerleader, imitates a ballerina, and even raps

Or the writer could have tried this:

plays a cheerleader and a ballerina and even raps

That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Who is leading?

I wonder who is leading the editorial staff at Yahoo! Sports and why that person didn’t catch the mismatched subject and verb:

who are leading sports

I also wonder if Yahoo! has an editorial staff.

Time for a new beginning

Is it me? Or are there more typos on Yahoo! Sports lately, especially in the category of ice hockey? Actually, it is me here, but it should be he:

boy find 2

When a boy finds a mismatched subject and verb, he should report it:

boy find 1

Maybe it’s time for a new beginning:

boy find 3

It’s a zoo out there

This article on Yahoo! Travel may be about the best zoos in the United States, but it represents some of the worst travel writing on the Internet. It’s shocking the number of mistakes made by someone who is a “managing editor” and an experienced travel writer.

This is how bad it can get:

zoo 1

It’s not an orange-colored, artificially flavored breakfast drink. It’s an orangutan. And the zoo calls it the Stingray Beach, with a capital B.

How did she screw this up so badly? The zoo is the Saint Louis Zoo and it’s in St. Louis, Missouri. Don’t go on a Saturday or Sunday expecting to see a concert. Although the writer claims concerts occur every weekend, they really occur only on Fridays and only between May 23 and August 29. Then there’s the case of the subject (admission) and its verb (which the writer thinks should be are):

zoo 2

The problem is, if she used the correct verb (is), then she’s got a really awkward sentence. That’s because she misplaced both. It belongs before “the zoo and the concert”: … admission to both the zoo and the concert is free.

I was expecting that if I went to this zoo, I’d be able to do more than just see the wolf cubs. Maybe I could bottle-feed them. Or dress them in coats and ties.

zoo 3

Again, the writer misplaced a modifier; this time it’s just. It should be: You won’t see just three cuddly wolf cubs; you’ll also see, etc., etc. etc.

How does a travel writer writing about zoos get another zoo’s name wrong? It’s Riverbanks Zoo and Garden (it’s not Zoos and it’s not Botanical):

zoo 4

OK, so maybe someone will explain to me how this project will create a new grizzly bear:

zoo 5

Would you trust the information in this article?

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