No lie: That’s wrong

After reading this snippet from Yahoo! Travel, you can just lie down and try to forget you ever saw it:

lay down travel

The verbs lay and lie have been confused for a long, long time. But careful writers know that lay takes a direct object and means “to put, place, or prepare” and lie, which cannot take an object, means “to recline or be situated.”

Your simile went over like a lead balloon

A simile is a great literary device to add color and interest to your writing. Unless you’re writing like this Yahoo! Travel scribe, whose simile goes over like a lead balloon:


Why? Because Kleenex is not tissue paper; it’s called just plain ol’ tissue or facial tissue. This pink stuff is tissue paper:

tissue paper


First, learn to read

You’d think that the ability to read a simple sentence would be a requirement for a position of writer at I don’t think it is. How else do you explain this claim about an article on “offbeat shrines” and “wacky food museums”?

fp museums

Here’s the title of the article:


If by “offbeat shrines” the writer means “factories,” then that’s accurate. If by “wacky food museums” the writer means “factories,” then that’s accurate, too.

Perhaps someone will read the article to the writer, since that seems beyond the scope of the job (or maybe just the writer’s abilities).

Did you mean a turkey hooker?

I’d like to ask the writer for Yahoo! Food one question: What the heck were you thinking?

solicit food

The only food I’ve seen soliciting was a turkey standing on a street corner — before she was stuffed:

turkey hooker

I’ve had lots of foods that elicited (or even more appropriately, evoked) an emotional response from me, including cottage cheese (blehk) and ham-and-banana hollandaise (yum!).

Do I repeat repeat myself?

Would you have spotted the repeated word word here on the Yahoo! front page:

fp at at

or here here?

fp in the in the

Here’s a lesson for you

Here’s a brief lesson for a Yahoo! Travel: Employing the services of a competent editor may lessen the number of mistakes you make:

lessons health

A number of errors and the amount of brainpower behind them

Here are a couple of errors on Yahoo! Sports that are relatively rare. So unusual, in fact, that I think the writer may be a student of English as a Second Language:

amount of leagues

How often have you seen amount used when number is so obviously called-for? Uh, never. At the risk of boring all the literate Terribly Write readers, let me summarize: Use amount of with uncountable nouns; it is often used with singular mass nouns such as an amount of money, an amount of love, an amount of time. Number of is used with countable nouns, which are usually plural, like number of errors, number of students, number of leagues.

And since we’re talking about leagues, we might want to consider why the writer thought that they should be referred to by the pronoun who, which should be used exclusively for human beings. (The writer should have chosen that instead of who.) Maybe the writer thought leagues are people, too.

First time in a dorm? Don’t bother with this

Only students who’ve lived in a dormitory (and who are headed back to a dorm) need read this article described on

fp headed back

So, if you’re going to be a freshman, living in a dorm for the first time, look elsewhere for advice.

(It’s interesting how a little word like back can change the meaning of that sentence.)

Right below Yu Darvish’s what?

Yahoo! Sports suggests that Yu Darvish and his inflamed right below shouldn’t pitch again this season. That’s just wrong:

right below sports

That’s a typo that even a spell-checker (should Yahoo!’s writers deign to use one) wouldn’t catch. Of course, it’s his right elbow that’s left us wondering how a proofreader missed that.

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”?


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