It’s just an estimate

I guess this event will be starting at an estimated time of 2 PM. Or maybe an established time of 2 PM:

est style 2

In my estimation, the writers for Yahoo! Style have no idea what the abbreviation for Eastern Standard Time is. Here’s a hint, it doesn’t include a period.

You write the top, I’ll write the bottom

In this episode of “You Write the Top, I’ll Write the Bottom” from the Yahoo! front page, we witness the confusion over the use of the hyphen:

fp home-run trot

It seems that the person writing the top of this module thinks home run doesn’t require a hyphen, even when used as an adjective. But the person responsible for the bottom part, thinks it needs a hyphen. Maybe a little communication between the two is in order. (Of course, I’m assuming that two people are responsible for this inconsistency; I can’t imagine one person making a mistake like that.)

Where do nymphs frolic?`

So, this writer for Yahoo! Style had a little problem with punctuation. I wouldn’t ordinarily mention it because it seems too nitpicky, even for me. But I can’t ignore it.  Just like I can’t ignore the claim that a designer has revisited a theme for a second time. I guess that means he’s visiting it three times: The first visit, the revisit, and the revisit for the second time. I wonder if at each visit to the theme nymphs frolicked in woodlawn:

woodlawn style

And was this where the woodlawn nymphs frolicked?

woodlawn

Or is it just possible that maybe perhaps it was woodland nymphs who did the frolicking?

Lessons from Yahoo Health

You can learn a lot just by reading the headlines at the home page of Yahoo! Health. You won’t learn anything about health, but you will learn what not to do when you write.

 

Lesson 1: Make sure your text isn’t longer than the space reserved for it.

You might read this and wonder “Sneak a workout in at what?” The opera? The line outside the ladies room at Yankee Stadium? Your kid’s piano recital? The options are endless.

miss word health

 

Lesson 2: Not every sentence beginning with what is a question.

This headline isn’t a question and “Listen to Your Body” isn’t a question. The only question is why would anyone think that question mark is necessary. Oh, and another question: How did you get a job as a writer?

what quest health

 

Lesson 3: You can’t always trust your spell-checker.

Facing a jury verdict and want to rise above it? You can! And you can do it in time for Race Day, which is apparently when you start running before they take you in for sentencing:

jury health

Unfortunately, it’s not rarely seen

On the Yahoo! front page, the hyphen is overused, as it is in this recently published teaser:

fp recently-deceased 2

Perhaps if the writers were closely watched they wouldn’t throw a hyphen in after an adverb ending in -LY:

fp closely-watched 2

This mistake isn’t rarely seen; it occurs quite often on yahoo.com:

fp rarely-seen 2

Here’s what these writers don’t understand: An adverb ending in -LY is a signal to the reader that it modifies the word that follows it. There’s no need to join those two words with a hyphen.

It’s not just a replica

Jerry “The King” Lawler doesn’t own just a replica of a famous car, he owns a replica version of it. Which is something different, I guess — at least in the minds of yahoo.com staffers:

fp version 60s

Also different in their minds is the plural 1960s, which really doesn’t need that apostrophe.

You write the top, I’ll write the bottom

In this episode of “You Write the Top, I’ll Write the Bottom” from the Yahoo! front page, it’s apparent that the writer of the top module didn’t really think the U.S. is officially at war, but the writer of the bottom module thought it was:

fp at war

Amongst your words, that is the most pretentious

The new site Yahoo! Style may be setting some records in the number and severity of errors that it displays every day. These errors from a recent article are among the most amateurish on the site:

font style 1

The word amongst is a synonym for among. Is it wrong? Not exactly, but it’s just not as common in the U.S. as it is in other English-speaking countries. And Americans aren’t all that fond of the word. The OxfordWords blog sums up the sentiment of many Americans:

[M]any authorities (such as Garner’s Modern American Usage) and language blogs state that, in US English, amongst is now seen as old-fashioned, and even ‘pretentious’. If you are a US English speaker, therefore, and you don’t want to come across to your audience as out of date or, heaven forbid, linguistically la-di-da, then it’s advisable to opt for among.

As for the other error in that paragraph, I believe there’s a mismatch between the subject designer and the verb, which should be tells. I can’t be sure since there appears to be some extra words, but I think the writer promises to let us know what the designer is listening to. That is simply a lie. The interview that follows does not include any such info.

The interviewer was clearly in the dark about Josef Albers’ “Interaction of Color,” which is a book. The designer was also influenced by the Blaschkas, a father and son, and not just one misspelled person:

font style 2

It would have been nice (and expected from a real site with any integrity) to check the references made by the person being interviewed. But this is Yahoo!, and journalistic integrity is not a priority.

Also not a priority? Punctuation. At least, correct punctuation is not a priority. Maybe someone will tell us about the process the writer has for distinguishing between a question and an imperative sentence:

font style 3

Who is Joe Zee?

Who is Joe Zee? According to today’s Yahoo! front page, he’s a Yahoo! Style editor:

fp joe zee

Except that a few days ago, the same people claimed he was the editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Style:

fp e-in-c

But over at Yahoo! Style, his byline says he’s editor in chief (no hyphen required):

e in c

Who is Joe Zee? I guess he works at Yahoo!, a company that can’t decide what to call him.

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.

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