You write the top, I’ll write the bottom

I’ve finally figured out why there are so many inconsistencies on the Yahoo! front page. Why a word is written with and without quotation marks. Or the plural of an acronym has an uppercase and a lowercase S. And why you’ll see both Batkid and BatKid together. And you’ll see both drug test and drug-test. And now bitcoin and Bitcoin:

fp bitcoin

How does that happen? I’m guessin’ that one person writes the headline below the big picture and someone else who works for an entirely different company writes the brief head at the bottom.

Is it chicken or just chicken-like?

Are chicken-fried vegetables anything like “chicken”-fried veggies? I think that one has been fried in a fat that was also used to fry chicken and the other was fried in something that was used to fry faux chicken. According to, you’ll find recipes for both on Yahoo!:

fp chicken-fried

Make up your mind!

The writers at Yahoo! Shine can’t seem to make up their mind: Is it hyphenated or not?

makeup shine hp

This kind of embarrassing inconsistency is the reason that a website that is serious about the quality of its content has a style guide and a standard dictionary and requires its writers and editors to adhere to both.

Shocking news

As we all know, the writers and editors at Yahoo! News (and the entire Yahoo! network) don’t adhere to any standards for grammar, spelling, capitalization, terminology, or anything else that has to do with communicating through the written word.

So, I was absolutely shocked to read that Yahoo! News follows the guidelines in the Associated Press stylebook, including using “Ukraine” (and not “the Ukraine”) to refer to the country that’s plastered all over the news:

the ukraine news 2

And then I spit out my nonfat, sugar-free vanilla latte when I read this on the homepage of Yahoo! News:

the ukraine news 1

What NFL offensive free agents don’t get

If you’re an NFL offensive free agent, don’t expect the same treatment as defensive free-agents — at least not on Yahoo! Sports:

free agents sports

That hyphen belongs to free-agents of the defensive kind. Never mind that most legitimate media companies have little things known as guidelines and standards for spelling words specific a topic like sports. It’s far preferable to spell some words with a hyphen and without a hyphen. It keeps things from getting boring for the reader. And it separates the defensive from the offensive.

They don’t look alike to me

It looks like somebody writing for the Yahoo! front page likes lookalikes:

fp lookalikes no hyph

That’s fine, I guess. It’s an acceptable spelling according to the American Heritage Dictionary, though look-alike (with a hyphen) is the preferred spelling. Maybe that’s why someone else at used it here:

fp lookalike hyph

I didn’t realize that when it’s singular, the noun is look-alike; when it’s plural, the hyphen goes away. It’s an odd rule obviously made up by some newbie editors at the Internet giant. Experienced editors at most serious news media agree to use the preferred spelling in an agreed-upon dictionary. Those editors at Yahoo! are such rebels!

Was it a surprise?

Were the editors at Yahoo! Sports taken by surprise by the Sochi Olympics? Did they not know in advance that it would take place this year and that perhaps, maybe, perchance, they might want to prepare for covering the Games? One thing they might have done: Standardize the spelling of some events so that they could avoid embarrassing inconsistencies like this:

super g sports

I can’t make up my mind

Makeup or make-up? The writer for Yahoo! Shine needs to make up her mind:

makeup free shine

Make-up free or makeup-free? Is there a hyphen and where does it go?

The preferred spelling (according to the American Heritage Dictionary) is makeup. Anyone no wearing makeup is makeup-free.

Flag bearer of bad news

When more than one person writes for a website, it’s wise to have a style guide that everyone adheres to. It’s also wise to pick one dictionary that everyone uses as the authority on spelling and word usage. If the folks at Yahoo! Sports had done that we wouldn’t be seeing flag bearer spelled as two words:

flag bearer


and as one word:


The American Heritage Dictionary (which you’ll find on Yahoo!, but Yahoo! staffers have yet to locate) says it’s two words.

What’s an editor to do?

What would you do? Put yourself in the position of an editor for the Yahoo! front page. A headline comes across your desk (or is dropped in your Inbox) with this spelling of protester:

fp protesters

You’re OK with that. But you know that some dictionaries also allow an alternate (though not preferred) spelling: protestor. So what do you do when a writer submits this headline?

fp protestor

Do you let it pass without change? No! No, you don’t because you know that you and your writers and your employer would look like fools to publish a word spelled two ways.


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