What does it take to improve the grammar of the professional writers and editors responsible for yahoo.com? Pointing out their errors, jeering, and suggesting corrections impact their writing. Sometimes.
For years I’ve been recommending that Yahoo! stop outsourcing the writing on yahoo.com to non-English-speaking countries. But it appears that my recommendations on editing were inadequate:
Yahoo! continues to employ grammatically challenged staffers. Is it so hard to match a subject (like, oh, say, maybe recommendations) and a verb (like were)? Is it so hard to find writers who can do that?
Apparently it is hard. Because here’s another verb flop from this morning’s yahoo.com:
The subject of that sentence is one, and it’s singular because, well, because it is one. It takes takes as a verb. The editor must have been on a lunch break when that got posted.
OK, so I made up that stat. I don’t know what percentage of people have a problem with grammar. Unless we’re talking about the people who write for the Yahoo! front page. Then I’d guess that it’s three out of three people:
Clearly someone (or someones) didn’t know that the subject of that sentence is one, and one is singular and therefore takes the singular verb has.
It shouldn’t be surprising that when people starting using they, their, and them to refer to an individual whose gender was unknown to the writer that there would come a time that those pronouns would be used for an individual whose gender was apparent. That time has come and the place is Yahoo! Style:
Did the writer use their instead of her because she didn’t know the mother was a female or because the writer didn’t know that a pronoun should agree with its antecedent?
Regardless of what they might think at yahoo.com, readers aren’t interested in the cheapest and most expensive beer prices, they’re interested in the cheapest and most expensive beer, except for people like me who don’t care for beer or football:
Everyone, including me, likes a verb matched to its subject, so we’re not crazy about the use of varies (which should be vary) because the subject (cost and size) is plural.
Holy Milk Bone! Even my dog Millie would know that this is a giant grammatical gaffe on Yahoo! Answers:
If the writer had said that in front of my mother, he or she would have gotten a smack upside the head. She taught me and all my siblings that you never put yourself first. If the writer had put my dog first, then it would be obvious that the correct pronoun is I, not me: my dog and I were. At least I hope it would be obvious.