If you’re going to make a mistake in your writing, don’t make it in a headline. It just makes things worse, like this omission on Yahoo! News:
What’s missing? An apostrophe in what should be “thousands of dollars’ worth.”
What do you do when you come up against a clash of styles? I’m not talking about wearing Birkenstocks with a prom gown, I’m talking about writing and trying to follow conflicting editorial guidelines. Case in point (or case and point, as one Yahoo! writer would say), this age on the Yahoo! front page:
If you follow Associated Press style, you’d use numerals (not words) for the age of a person. But AP style also recommends not starting a sentence with numerals (except if the numerals are a year). If you write out the age correctly, it would be: Forty-nine-year-old. That’s a lot of hyphens. And it would violate the rule requiring numerals for the age of a person. So that would be: 49-year-old. But numerals can’t go at the beginning of a sentence.
I’m starting to feel a little dizzy.
What to do? Recast the sentence, of course! You’ll get a shorter sentence that’s easier to read without all those hyphens:
Bernard Hopkins, 49, seeks a historic bout…
Yesterday I did something I seldom do; I published a blog post with multiple boo-boos from the Yahoo! front page. Usually I just cover one, but the errors on yahoo.com were so numerous, that I lumped them all in a single post.
Did I just write “all”? That’s not quite accurate, because after that post went live, the
hits misses just kept on comin’. Like this attempt at trying to spell Sprinkler:
And this pathetic try at Steve Carell’s name:
This looks to be an attempt at saying “Johnny Manziel owes his appeal to” or “Johnny Manziel’s appeal is due to”:
Oh, lordie. This so-called headline contains redundant quotation marks. Don’t use quotation marks if you’re using so-called because they mean the same thing:
I’m no chemist (in fact, chemistry was my weakest subject in college), but I know something about logic. Here’s the scoop: If everything in the world is made up of chemicals, you really don’t need to tell us that “not all are toxic” because it’s unlikely there would still be a human being alive if everything were toxic:
Good days work. Bad days don’t. What does that have to do with the talks surrounding the situation in Ukraine? You’d have to ask the writer for Yahoo! News responsible for this:
OK, so we all know that the writer meant: Good day’s work. That’s what the Associated Press calls a quasi possessive. Other examples include: three years’ experience, two weeks’ pay, and a good night’s rest.
Just what is the writers’ age factor (besides being an extremely awkward phrase)? Does a writer’s age have an influence on the quality of his or her writing? There’s lots of anecdotal evidence that those who graduated from high school in the last twenty years don’t have the same writing skills as their parents. Is the writer for the Yahoo! front page — who forgot about a little apostrophe — one of those recent high school grads?
Let’s relegate the use of a hyphen after an adverb ending in -LY to the Grammar Slammer. While we’re at it, let’s make a citizen’s arrest and haul in the Yahoo! Shine writer who also thinks that delegating is the right word:
I had never heard (or read) anyone use delegate when relegate was the word that was called for — until I started reading Yahoo!. Relegate means “to assign to an obscure place, position, or condition.” Delegate means “to commit or entrust to another.”