Amongst your words, that is the most pretentious

The new site Yahoo! Style may be setting some records in the number and severity of errors that it displays every day. These errors from a recent article are among the most amateurish on the site:

font style 1

The word amongst is a synonym for among. Is it wrong? Not exactly, but it’s just not as common in the U.S. as it is in other English-speaking countries. And Americans aren’t all that fond of the word. The OxfordWords blog sums up the sentiment of many Americans:

[M]any authorities (such as Garner’s Modern American Usage) and language blogs state that, in US English, amongst is now seen as old-fashioned, and even ‘pretentious’. If you are a US English speaker, therefore, and you don’t want to come across to your audience as out of date or, heaven forbid, linguistically la-di-da, then it’s advisable to opt for among.

As for the other error in that paragraph, I believe there’s a mismatch between the subject designer and the verb, which should be tells. I can’t be sure since there appears to be some extra words, but I think the writer promises to let us know what the designer is listening to. That is simply a lie. The interview that follows does not include any such info.

The interviewer was clearly in the dark about Josef Albers’ “Interaction of Color,” which is a book. The designer was also influenced by the Blaschkas, a father and son, and not just one misspelled person:

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It would have been nice (and expected from a real site with any integrity) to check the references made by the person being interviewed. But this is Yahoo!, and journalistic integrity is not a priority.

Also not a priority? Punctuation. At least, correct punctuation is not a priority. Maybe someone will tell us about the process the writer has for distinguishing between a question and an imperative sentence:

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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?

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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:

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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:

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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.

Is that your question?

Bachelor? Yup, that’s a question. And it’s the question asked on the Yahoo! front page:

fp bachelor quot ques

I don’t know what’s so hard about this: If the words inside quotation marks form a question, the question mark goes before the closing quotation mark.

Would you call that rule “gnarly”?

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.

Lo and behold!

Every day Yahoo! brings us a new and amusing spelling, punctuation, factual, or grammatical error. Today, it’s on the Yahoo! front page (as many of them are) and it’s a misspelling of lo and behold that I’ve never seen before:

fp lo apost

Yahoo! staffers have spelled that expression as low and behold here and here. But the inclusion of an apostrophe — as if lo were a contraction — is one I’ve not seen before. The interjection lo is “used to attract attention or to show surprise” (American Heritage Dictionary). It’s not a contraction of a longer word; it is a word.

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’.

Plum’s! Watermelon’s! Smith’s!

Really? Did someone working for Yahoo! Celebrity really think that this is an acceptable plural of the surname Smith?

smiths apost omg

That’s the kind of error you might expect to find on a hand-written sign at a local grocery  (Plum’s! Watermelon’s!), not at one of the busiest sites on the Web.

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.

Holy typos, Batman!

Here’s a look at what you can find in a single day on the home page of Yahoo! TV.

A misspelling of Kit Harington:

harrington tv hp

Incorrect quotation marks around a character’s name:

batman quot tv hp

(If the writer were referring to the movie or TV show, the quotation marks would be okie-dokie, but the reference is to the character.)

I’d like to give a shout-out to the writer of this headline, but I can’t. It’s missing the hyphen that makes shout-out a noun:

shout out tv hp

How on God’s green earth do you explain this one? Did the writer first pound out it’s, decide that it’s wrong, and change it to it is?

it is tv hp

I bet the writer of this headline would like to turn back time and correct this blunder:

turining tv

Finally, another typo (how could anyone miss that?) and a second misspelling of Mr. Harington’s name:

harrington tv hp 2

It’s Opposites Weekend at Yahoo!

What the heck is going on at yahoo.com? Are we the victims of some prank, a case of Opposites Weekend? Yesterday I noticed that yahoo.com lied about Daniel Radcliffe being the only star in a disguise at Comic-Con. Now there’s this headline:

fp godzilla quot

First let’s dispense with the issue of the quotation marks. Unless Godzilla refers to the movie (and it doesn’t), there shouldn’t be quotes around it. The names of characters don’t get that sort of treatment. (Hmmm. Unless that’s not really his name…) Then the writer alleges that Godzilla will be fighting new foes. Baloney!

Here’s the headline from the article, replete with the incorrect quotation marks. Notice the words Old Foes?

fp godzilla quot 2

Is Yahoo! just messin’ with us? Or are the writers there really that incompetent?

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