Writing expert … recommend proofreading

Here’s an idea that’s sure to be of use of the folks at Yahoo! Health: Proofread your headlines before and after you’ve published them:

recommend genetic

Yup, that’s it. Does that headline make sense to you?

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.

Suffice it to say, this is not good

It looks like there’ll be lots of material for Terribly Write in the new Yahoo! Style. Here’s a random snippet that offers lessons in writing for all of us:

paring style

Lesson 1: If you’re writing about fashion, learn to spell the names of designers and fashion labels, like Emporio Armani. Misspelling something so basic marks you as careless — or worse.

Lesson 2: Suffice it to say, make sure you get common idioms right.

Lesson 3: Pairing misspellings with homophonic errors makes you look uneducated. Know the difference between pare (which means to trim) and pair (which doesn’t).

Lesson 4: If you mean socks with white laces, then write “white-laced socks.” If you mean socks with white lace, don’t.

This should be investigated

Do you think the writer is being investigated for dropping a word on the home page of Yahoo! Sports?

investigated sports


How one little word can make you look dumb

OK, how would you know if Daniel Radcliffe was the only star “to go incognito”? If someone is incognito, how can you tell they are a celebrity or not? It makes no sense. But here it is on the Yahoo! front page:

fp incognito

That allegation makes no sense because the writer left out one teensy word: not. Mr. Radcliffe was not the only star in a costume. How do I know? Because I can read. And the headline for the accompanying article is:

dan rad movies

A couple of letters are missing

A couple of letters are missing from the Yahoo! front page —  O and F:

fp couple years

Yes, the idiom is couple of, not couple, at least according to the American Heritage Dictionary:

The of in the phrase a couple of is often dropped in speech, but this omission is usually considered a mistake. In 2013, 80 percent of the Usage Panel found the sentence A couple friends came over to watch the game to be unacceptable.

Having troible proofreading?

Geez. We know that the writers and editors at Yahoo! have trouble proofreading, by which I mean they do not proofread. So, you’d think that the Internet giant would at least provide them with a spell-checker. At least one error on Yahoo! Music could be eliminated:

troibled music

A spell-checker would have spit out troibled, but wouldn’t have identified the missing words. That’s for the reader to provide.

John Kerry carries heavy load

When they’re not erroneously claiming that Secretary of State John Kerry was once the governor of Massachusetts (or Massachussetts as they would have it), the folks at Yahoo! News place the entire country of Afghanistan on his shoulders:

latest afghan news

That’s quite a heavy load for a 70-year-old.

Not a high school graduate

How the heck did Eminem’s daughter do that? In October she was a high school homecoming queen, and now she’s a college graduate?

fp grad college

The answer is pretty simple: This appeared on yahoo.com, a site not known for accurately reproducing facts. It was right under the writer’s nose. Assuming the writer doesn’t have a schnoz like Cyrano de Bergerac, it should have been easy to see that the girl didn’t graduate from college. (And I meant graduate from college, not graduate college.)


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