You write the top, I’ll write the bottom

In this episode of “You Write the Top, I’ll Write the Bottom” from the Yahoo! front page, we witness the confusion over the use of the hyphen:

fp home-run trot

It seems that the person writing the top of this module thinks home run doesn’t require a hyphen, even when used as an adjective. But the person responsible for the bottom part, thinks it needs a hyphen. Maybe a little communication between the two is in order. (Of course, I’m assuming that two people are responsible for this inconsistency; I can’t imagine one person making a mistake like that.)

I just have to say it

I just have to say it: This is horrible. Atrocious. An embarrassment to the writer, Yahoo! Style, and all of Yahoo!:

maggie

It’s amazing the number and severity of errors one writer can make in a single sentence. First let me warn anyone who might be tempted to click on the first link. Don’t bother. It doesn’t have an actual URL behind it; you’ll just get an error.

Then let’s just say that apostrophes (especially when they face the wrong direction) are no substitute for actual quotation marks, which is what I think Yahoo! uses to delineate titles of TV shows.

How lazy a writer do you have to be to neglect to look up the name of the dancer in a YouTube video? Her name is Maddie Ziegler.

If by “empty rooms” the writer means rooms containing furniture, pictures on the wall, and curtains at the windows, then yes, the rooms are empty.

If these jaw-dropping errors are what we can expect to see in the future on the new Yahoo! Style, then I’ll be hanging out somewhere else — at a site that employs real writers with some measure of integrity and pride in their work.

Unfortunately, it’s not rarely seen

On the Yahoo! front page, the hyphen is overused, as it is in this recently published teaser:

fp recently-deceased 2

Perhaps if the writers were closely watched they wouldn’t throw a hyphen in after an adverb ending in -LY:

fp closely-watched 2

This mistake isn’t rarely seen; it occurs quite often on yahoo.com:

fp rarely-seen 2

Here’s what these writers don’t understand: An adverb ending in -LY is a signal to the reader that it modifies the word that follows it. There’s no need to join those two words with a hyphen.

Keep the kids away from the keyboard

This is what happens when you let the kiddies take over the keyboard and write for a site like Yahoo! Style: You get amateurish writing, juvenile vocabulary, and sloppy errors. I don’t know if the writer is a teen or a tween, just that she writes like one.

A professional writer covering New York Fashion Week should know how many capital letters to use. But that’s not all; the errors are nonstop (which is one word, not two). She seems like a writer I typically wouldn’t chat with:

adderall style 1

It’s Groundhog Day, not this thing the writer made up:

adderall style 2

If you’re writing about Adderall, don’t you think you should know when to hit the Shift key? It’s common to refer to a certain period as the mid-90s and it’s more common to include all words, even the in “as the wonder drug”:

adderall style 3

Is this the kind of writing they’re featuring on Yahoo! now? Does the writer have such a paucity of words that she can’t come up with a better way to express this?

adderall style 4

Clearly she has no idea what a proper noun is, like Instagram and Tumblr:

adderall style 5

(Since Yahoo! also owns Tumblr, she might want to learn how to spell it.)

The writing is so bad that I’m practically dozing off.  But I perk up when I see a quote this bad. (It should be “said, ‘You’re welcome.’) And again with the undercapitalized Adderall!

adderall style 6

I don’t know how this went off the rails so badly:

adderall style 7

There’s at least one way to correct that: “At every dinner, cocktail party, and even shows.”

Lordie, I guess we can’t expect kids these days to know about the use of a hyphen in a compound adjective like “four-hour” or to know how to proofread so that no words are missing:

adderall style 8

This wouldn’t be complete without one more lowercased Adderall:

adderall style 9

So, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Not if the writer’s a 10-year-old.

Take a critical look these errors

Behold the errors from Yahoo! Movies:

ic truck movies

There’s no shortage of creativity when it comes to hyphen usage. These folks can’t decide if it’s “ice cream truck” or “ice-cream truck” or the truly original “ice cream-truck.”

Not confined by the rules of grammar, the writer seems to think it’s okie-dokie to use the plural pronouns them and they to refer to the singular truck. It’s not.

And if you take a critical look at this paragraph you might spot another goof: A missing word.

Gigantic, frantic transatlantic antic

So maybe I lied. It’s not frantic. Or antic. It’s not a gigantic transatlantic, it’s just a slightly larger one made by the erroneous addition of a hyphen by someone at Yahoo! Travel:

trans-atlantic travel

It’s true that when adding a prefix to a proper noun, you usually use a hyphen: un-American, mid-June, pre-Columbian, post-Vietnam, trans-American. But, it’s transatlantic, without a hyphen.

It would still be wrong

Even if the writer for Yahoo! Movies had remembered to put the hyphen in run-in, the word would still be wrong:

run in omg 1

A run-in is a quarrel or argument; it’s not a casual meeting.

But aside from that, what mistakes did the writer make? There’s some problem with familiar faces, because the writer implies that Lindsay Lohan and Tina Fey share the same face:

run in omg 2

This writer really has issues with punctuation. She puts an erroneous apostrophe is Wednesdays and puts a semicolon within quotation marks. In U.S. English, two punctuation characters never, ever go before a closing quotation mark: a colon and a semicolon.

Where do they go?

There are two hyphens and two apostrophes missing in this paragraph from Yahoo! Finance. Do you know where they go?

target finance

Correct! The hyphens belong in three-month (it’s a compound adjective modifying search) and 55-year-old. The apostrophes belong in what the Associated Press calls quasi possessives: ten years’ and three years’.

Nice try, but wrong

I gotta give credit to the writer for Yahoo! Sports who made an effort to use two hyphens in a single sentence:

12-to-18 months sports

Unfortunately, they are both wrong. There’s simply no need for hyphens there; “12 to 18 months” is correct. Now, if the writer had created a compound adjective, then there’s a need for two hyphens, like this: a 12- to 18-month recovery.

Can’t make up your mind?

Can’t make up your mind about the spelling of a word and refuse to check a dictionary? It seems that the answer is “yes” for the writers on yahoo.com when it comes to cease-fire. Somebody thinks it needs a hyphen:

fp cease-fire

and somebody thinks it doesn’t:

fp ceasefire

I guess that solves that dilemma. Spell the word both ways! Or, take a look at the American Heritage Dictionary (which is part of the Yahoo! network) to see that the preferred spelling is with a hyphen, although the single, unhyphenated word is also acceptable.

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