Not ready for the big leagues

I don’t think that the writer for Yahoo! News’ “Odd News” is quite ready for the big leagues of journalism, especially not in sports journalism. Anyone familiar with professional baseball knows about Major League Baseball. It’s a trademark owned by Major League Baseball Properties, Inc.

mlb news

How can you miss that?

How did the editor for Yahoo! Shine overlook the missing question mark in this headline?

missing quest shine

Where did it go? Here, at the end of an imperative sentence:

guess quest

Are you qualified to write about travel?

What does it take to be a writer for Yahoo! Travel? Not much, if this article is any indication.

You don’t need to know how to spell. You can commit the absolute worst misspelling of hors d’oeuvres in the entire universe and still be employed:

hour 1

And you don’t need to know anything about punctuation. Just throw some commas around as if L’Espalier were the only restaurant on Boylston Street, and hope that nobody realizes that you didn’t tell them where Boylston Street is. (It’s in Boston.)

Should you know that they’re the Great Smoky Mountains? Not necessarily:

hour 2

Do you need to know that a hyphen is required in the compound adjective 4,200-acre? Nope:

hour 3

Should you know how to spell Tom Colicchio? Nah.

hour 4

What does it take to write for Yahoo!?

Is it contagious?

It’s not often you’ll find a totally random apostrophe on the Yahoo! front page, so imagine my surprise when I found one here:

fp cops apost

and then on the home page of Yahoo! Sports:

fans apost sports

I cannot imagine what made those writers add an apostrophe to those words. Is it an attempt to make them plural? Or to make them possessives? Anyone?

Laying it out in black and white

Let’s lay this out in black and white for the Yahoo! Celebrity writer: If you don’t know that fiancé is an engaged man (and fiancée is an engaged woman), perhaps you should refer to the man as betrothed. Or maybe boyfriend:

simpson omg 1

If you’re using it as an adjective, then black-and-white gets two hyphens. (As a noun, it doesn’t need those hyphens.)

So, Jessica Simpson posted a black-and-white photo on Instagram. Is it any surprise that it looked like she was wearing a black and white dress? (I really don’t know how the writer could tell what color the dress was.) Repeating a word isn’t the worst mistake a writer can make, but claiming she “was laid out” makes it sound like the poor woman was prepared for a funeral, not a wedding:

simpson omg 2

Finally, the writer alleges that her hand was “placed seductively over her eyebrow.” Unless her eyebrow is somewhere on the top of her head, I think the writer made a misstatement:

simpson omg 3

Arousing suspicion

I suspect that the writers and/or editors over at Yahoo! Shine haven’t been trained in the wonder that is punctuation. If they had been, they’d know enough not to put the question mark here:

paradise quest

The question mark belongs after the closing quotation mark because the entire sentence is a question.

I suspect the writer didn’t look up the spelling of Lil’ Kim; if she had, she’d know there’s an apostrophe missing here:

lil kim shine

So, when the writers aren’t dropping punctuation marks, they’re adding them where they don’t belong, like here:

post-partum shine

The word is postpartum, without a hyphen.

And my favorite mistake, arousing my suspicion that no one at Yahoo! cares about spelling, is this misspelling:

arrousing shine

It’s a new one

Some mistakes are so common on Yahoo!, that I’ve just about given up reporting on them. How many times can I explain the difference between its and it’s before I want to jam a pencil in my eyes? But this time, it’s a little different. A lot different. Skip past the overcapitalized commander-in-chief and focus of the worst case of an unnecessary apostrophe:

its apost tv

That’s a first for me. Never underestimate the punctuation creativity of the writers for Yahoo! TV.

Is the hyphen key broken?

Is the hyphen key broken on the keyboards at Yahoo! Sports? That might explain the missing character in mix-up:

mix up no hy sports

Even if the key were broken, the writer could have pounded out mixup, which is acceptable alternative to mix-up, according to the American Heritage Dictionary.

Don’t go lookin’ for hyphens in headlines on Yahoo! News, either. They’re all out:

13 year-old news

Apostrophes: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em

Apostrophes. No one knows what the heck to do with them. They get thrown in where they don’t belong, like this plural on Yahoo! Sports:

governors apost sports

and this one on Yahoo! Movies:

1980s apost movies

and this possessive pronoun in Yahoo! Shine:

its own apost shine hp

And it’s confusing when they’re  forgotten in contractions like this, also from Yahoo! Sports:

its built no apost sports pr

and this from Yahoo! Answers:

lets no apos ans

Apostrophes. Let’s just do away with them entirely.

‘Tis ’tis, ’tain’t tis’

Most people know a little something about the apostrophe. They know the apostrophe’s uses include showing possession. They know it’s also used in something called contractions — not the kind involving birthin’ babies. The kind that involves removing a letter or two from a word or words, like isn’t, we’ve, and they’re. The apostrophe shows where there’s a letter or two gone missin’. It’s helpful to your readers, except if you put it in the wrong place:

tis apost sports pr

I gotta give the writer for Yahoo! Sports’ “Prep Rally” credit for at least tryin’. But the contraction he’s looking for is ’tis — a contraction for it is.

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