That’s not where it goes

Where does the question mark go? Not where they put it on the Yahoo! front page:

fp interview quest quot

Unless the question is Interview?, then the question mark belongs after the closing quotation mark.

Jingle Ball’s oddity

This is an oddity in the world of professionally written sites:

balls apos style

But at Yahoo! Style it’s not uncommon to see a plural formed with an apostrophe. It’s not uncommon, but it is wrong.

Wondering how you keep your job

This is what I’m wondering: How the heck did this writer get a job with Yahoo! Style? Clearly this guy has a limited grasp of English:

wondering for more

It’s not the use of a comma instead of an em-dash or a semicolon, which is what should be used to join two independent clauses. It’s the whole “wondering for more” that has me wondering if English is his first language. And makes me wonder why there’s no editor to clean up his dribblings before they’re posted.

I’m not the only one who’s confused

I’m totally confused — but not  as confused as the Yahoo! DIY writer who has an odd way with an apostrophe:

comin diy

She managed to correctly place an apostrophe in treatin’ to indicate the missing G. But she didn’t include one in comin; perhaps she thinks that’s a real word. But there’s no explanation for this: r’. What the heck is that? Is there a letter missing after the R that would make it a word?

And what’s up with that A before trick? Did she mean a-trick? If so, the hyphen seems to be another punctuation mark whose use totally eludes her. If you’re goin’ to be prefixin’ a verb with a-,  then the verb has to end in -ing: a-tricking.

I think that clears up some confusion for me. I have only one question left: Where the heck was the editor for this mess?

No wonder the writing is so bad

If I were lucky enough to be an editor in chief, you can bet I wouldn’t be making the same mistakes made by the head of Yahoo! DIY:

if i was lucky

Anyone wondering why the writing on DIY is so amateurish should consider that this little paragraph was written by the editor in chief of the website. If she doesn’t care about the quality of her own writing, why would she care about the quality of the musings of others?

Just in case someone from Yahoo! DIY is reading this, here’s the scoop: You should use the subjunctive mood for statements that are not factual; hence, were (not was) is the correct verb. In English, we capitalize the pronoun I. And finally, if you’re not asking a question, don’t conclude a sentence with a question mark.

Everyone needs an editor. Even an editor in chief.

One shopper, many bodies?

Can one person have more than one body? And can a department store survive with only one shopper? These are the questions that have plagued me since reading this on Yahoo! Style:

shoppers style

‘Tis true: ‘Tis not ’tis

If you know that ’tis is a contraction of it is, then you understand the need for the apostrophe. If you have no idea what ’tis means, you’ll omit the apostrophe, like the writer for Yahoo! Style did:

tis women style

If you’re a grown woman, you should appreciate the utility of the apostrophe. You should also appreciate the difference between woman and women.

Do you need a second costume?

So, you already have your Halloween costume. You’re going to your BFF’s party as a slutty slut. But the boss just announced that everyone must come to work in costume on October 31. Your slutty slut is kinda NSFW. You need a second costume! Don’t panic. The creative minds at Yahoo! DIY have ten second costumes; one is sure to be just right:

10 second costumes diy

But wait! There’s more! Each of these costumes can be made in less than a minute. In fact, you might call them “10-Second Costumes.”

What a difference a hyphen makes.

It took a whole team to write this badly?

Here’s a shocking admission from Yahoo! Style: This article, and all its errors, was written by “Yahoo Style Editors.” Apparently it takes more than one editor to screw up this badly. In general first ladies doesn’t get capital-letter treatment (at least according to most authorities, including the Associated Press). And no authority would OK the use of an apostrophe in the plural houses. (But no article from Style would be complete without at least one apostrophe in a plural):

fl 1

One of those “Yahoo Style Editors” really ought to be able to spell the name of every U.S. president, so one of them should be able to spell every president’s wife’s name, too. Like Nancy Reagan:

fl 2

I kinda think that’s inexcusable. And I’m horrified that the writers think that Hillary Clinton was inaugurated in 1997. She never had her own inauguration. She did, however, attend her husband’s 1997 inauguration.

Those “editors” could use a little tutelage in the use of a spell-checker:

fl 3

Lordie, lordie. Doesn’t anyone in the group of “Yahoo Style Editors” know how to spell? Or use a dictionary? Or a spell-checker?

fl 4

And finally there’s just one more lie they have to tell. (It’s probably not a lie so much as an inability for the combined brains of “Yahoo Style Editors” to understand words of more than two syllables.) Mrs. Clinton did not wear an embellished gown to her husband’s second term ceremony. She wore one to her husband’s second-term Inaugural Ball.

Back to school for you!

Could the writer of this module on the Yahoo! front page be a college graduate? I’m not sure. I’d expect a college graduate to know that an apostrophe is required in “Parents college debt nightmare”:

fp college debt

I’d expect that a college graduate could read an article and summarize it accurately. And that’s when I realized that perhaps this writer is still in high school, struggling with understanding text written for a tenth grader. That’s how I’d explain the allegation that these parents owe a huge sum “nearly a decade after the graduation.” Since the parents have more than one daughter, I wanted to know whose graduation was a decade ago. So I read the article and learned that these folks borrowed the money a decade ago — not that their daughters graduated a decade ago.

To the writer, I’d say, stay in school and get that high school diploma. To readers of, I say don’t believe what you read.


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