That new site that Yahoo! just launched, Yahoo! DIY, has lots and lots of errors. Here are just two of them:
You’d expect to find something like this at a small, local market: avocado’s, banana’s, and more product signs all sporting an apostrophe as if it were part of forming a plural noun. It isn’t. It’s wrong, and you know that. But I didn’t expect to find it on a presumably professionally written site like Yahoo! Style. But I should have:
How does something like that happen? Is it ignorance? Carelessness? Or an arrogant disregard for language?
This headline was my first indication that the article on Yahoo! Style was not going to go well:
The new ’60s-inspired pieces you need now? I think they involve a correctly placed an apostrophe (which shouldn’t be used to form the plural) and a hyphen.
Things only got worse. It’s hard to imagine what went through the writer’s mind when she pounded out this:
It’s pretty clear that makes and reminds should be make and remind (because their subject is surfboards) and that summer isn’t a proper noun. But what could be wrong with wool sweater? The answer lies in the handy caption for the sweater that the writer provided:
WTF? How did the writer screw up that badly? It’s a freakin’ linen sweater, not a wool one!
This writer is just obsessed with wool sweaters, to the point of lying about the actual material of her recommendations:
First, let’s look at the helpful information the writer supplied because the alleged black stripe is actually navy:
And is it mohair? Of course not! It’s nylon and acrylic. The writer just likes to make up her own little facts.
Do you know how difficult it is to find the correct spelling of gray? Luckily you don’t have to. In the U.S., it gets an A; in other English-speaking countries, the preferred spelling is grey:
Again the writer proves that she’s grammatically challenged, unable to identify a plural subject (shape and color) and match it to a verb (which should be are).
When not making up information about sweaters, the writer likes to be creative about pants:
What could possible wrong with that? The pattern is called dogtooth and the pants aren’t cropped, even though the writer just can’t let go of the whole crop pants thing:
Geez. This just keeps getting worse. There’s a missing hyphen in must-have, fall is capitalized erroneously, and this sentence makes no sense:
I don’t know what this means nor what FW means:
Think it can’t get worse? Think again:
The handbag is not made from box leather; it’s a leather box bag.And it was seen from a lot of famous people.
I have to keep reminding myself that this article was written by a professional writer, someone who is actually paid real money to write this crap:
That’s someone who doesn’t know the difference between its and it’s. Who doesn’t know to end a sentence with a period (a comma just won’t do) and stick a hyphen in cat-eye.
It started off with a mistake and just kept piling ‘em on. It went from bad to more bad and more bad.
Even if the writer for Yahoo! Movies had remembered to put the hyphen in run-in, the word would still be wrong:
A run-in is a quarrel or argument; it’s not a casual meeting.
But aside from that, what mistakes did the writer make? There’s some problem with familiar faces, because the writer implies that Lindsay Lohan and Tina Fey share the same face:
This writer really has issues with punctuation. She puts an erroneous apostrophe is Wednesdays and puts a semicolon within quotation marks. In U.S. English, two punctuation characters never, ever go before a closing quotation mark: a colon and a semicolon.
Whether they’re trying to spell prix fixe, trompe l’oeil, or coup d’état, if the word is French (even if it’s well-established in the English-speaking world), Yahoo! writers are sure to screw it up. This time I’m indebted to Yahoo! Celebrity for showing us that some writers can’t quite get it right:
The expression femme fatale is composed of two French words: femme for woman and fatale for deadly. As is common in French, the adjective must match the noun it modifies in number (that is, if the noun is plural, the adjective is, too). So the plural of femme fatale is femmes fatales — both words get an S. De rien.
What faced foreclosure? I’m reading this on the Yahoo! front page and can’t figure out if the DeCesare’s dog faced foreclosure or something else faced foreclosure:
I guess there’s another possibility: The writers for yahoo.com don’t know how to form the plural of a name. If the name doesn’t end in S, you form the plural by adding an S, not an apostrophe and an S.
The only way this sentence on the home page Yahoo! TV makes sense is if the family’s name is Bate:
But it’s not. The family’s surname is Bates. If you hang with them, you hang with the Bateses. (Since Bateses is a little difficult to decipher — even though it is the correct plural — a better solution might be to use “the Bates family.”)
I’m not a doctor — I don’t even play one on TV — but I know enough about human anatomy to question this claim on Yahoo! Sports:
I didn’t recognize the term dorsal vertebrae because the current term is thoracic vertebrae. The term dorsal vertebrae has been obsolete for a long, long time. (If you want to be nitpicky, all vertebrae are dorsal since the term refers to the back.)
Anyhoo, I guess we shouldn’t expect a sports writer to be concerned about such things, although I would expect an editor to know the difference between a singular and a plural noun. I don’t know much about Latin, but I know enough to recognize that vertebrae is the plural of vertebra.
Don’t you get insulted when a writer “talks down” to you? I know I do! I hate it when a writer uses a vocabulary that is so unsophisticated that even a rhesus monkey could understand it. I lose patience when the simplest terms are explained in excruciating detail. I can’t stand it when the writer has to torture the language just so it’s grammatically correct.
If you’re like me, then you’ll enjoy reading this article on Yahoo! News! This writer is so sure that you’re a member in good standing of Mensa that he doesn’t bother to insure that pronouns have actual antecedents (even if he knew what an antecedent was):
He knows you don’t care if he drops the hyphen from the name of a newspaper. (It’s the Press-Citizen, but who really cares?) When you read that 2 AM is in the morning, you know he didn’t include that redundancy for you:
It’s not often that you read something by a professional writer that contains a grammatical gaffe like the incorrect past tense of a common verb. OK, so it is often, if you’re reading an article by a Yahoo! employee and the article reads like the writer had drunk one too many Bud Lights:
But that’s OK! It’s just a verb and you knew what he meant, right? And the missing hyphen (again) in Press-Citizen is no biggie. And you don’t have to know what PBT stands for, unless you’re a serious alcoholic, then you already know it’s short for preliminary breath test.
Wouldn’t you want to read about Chad Harvey while enjoying a helpful picture of someone named Matt Harvey? I know I would. Perhaps Matt Harvey is Chad Harvey’s brother. Or father. Or uncle. Or next-door neighbor, who looks enough like Chad to stand in for him in the article:
The writer has enough confidence in your mental acuity that he doesn’t have to tell you what a BAC is. Heck, he doesn’t even have to form its plural correctly; he’s sure you won’t mind if he throws an apostrophe in there. (By the way, for you Mennonites and others who shun alcohol, BAC stands for blood alcohol content. Or Bank of America Corp.)
Finally, when you think things couldn’t get worse, the writer does not disappoint:
Imagine not knowing where to put the correlative conjunction not only…but also. Imagine not knowing that the partner of not only is but also. But you know that. You would have written:
to have survived not only driving while intoxicated, but also the punishment they inflicted on their bodies.
to not only survive driving while intoxicated, but also survive the punishment they inflicted on their bodies.
But writing grammatically correct sentences is just patronizing your readers.