Lo and behold!

Every day Yahoo! brings us a new and amusing spelling, punctuation, factual, or grammatical error. Today, it’s on the Yahoo! front page (as many of them are) and it’s a misspelling of lo and behold that I’ve never seen before:

fp lo apost

Yahoo! staffers have spelled that expression as low and behold here and here. But the inclusion of an apostrophe — as if lo were a contraction — is one I’ve not seen before. The interjection lo is “used to attract attention or to show surprise” (American Heritage Dictionary). It’s not a contraction of a longer word; it is a word.

Where do they go?

There are two hyphens and two apostrophes missing in this paragraph from Yahoo! Finance. Do you know where they go?

target finance

Correct! The hyphens belong in three-month (it’s a compound adjective modifying search) and 55-year-old. The apostrophes belong in what the Associated Press calls quasi possessives: ten years’ and three years’.

Plum’s! Watermelon’s! Smith’s!

Really? Did someone working for Yahoo! Celebrity really think that this is an acceptable plural of the surname Smith?

smiths apost omg

That’s the kind of error you might expect to find on a hand-written sign at a local grocery  (Plum’s! Watermelon’s!), not at one of the busiest sites on the Web.

Nice try, but wrong

I gotta give credit to the writer for Yahoo! Sports who made an effort to use two hyphens in a single sentence:

12-to-18 months sports

Unfortunately, they are both wrong. There’s simply no need for hyphens there; “12 to 18 months” is correct. Now, if the writer had created a compound adjective, then there’s a need for two hyphens, like this: a 12- to 18-month recovery.

Can’t make up your mind?

Can’t make up your mind about the spelling of a word and refuse to check a dictionary? It seems that the answer is “yes” for the writers on yahoo.com when it comes to cease-fire. Somebody thinks it needs a hyphen:

fp cease-fire

and somebody thinks it doesn’t:

fp ceasefire

I guess that solves that dilemma. Spell the word both ways! Or, take a look at the American Heritage Dictionary (which is part of the Yahoo! network) to see that the preferred spelling is with a hyphen, although the single, unhyphenated word is also acceptable.

Holy typos, Batman!

Here’s a look at what you can find in a single day on the home page of Yahoo! TV.

A misspelling of Kit Harington:

harrington tv hp

Incorrect quotation marks around a character’s name:

batman quot tv hp

(If the writer were referring to the movie or TV show, the quotation marks would be okie-dokie, but the reference is to the character.)

I’d like to give a shout-out to the writer of this headline, but I can’t. It’s missing the hyphen that makes shout-out a noun:

shout out tv hp

How on God’s green earth do you explain this one? Did the writer first pound out it’s, decide that it’s wrong, and change it to it is?

it is tv hp

I bet the writer of this headline would like to turn back time and correct this blunder:

turining tv

Finally, another typo (how could anyone miss that?) and a second misspelling of Mr. Harington’s name:

harrington tv hp 2

You write the top, I’ll write the bottom

In yet another edition of “You Write the Top, I’ll Write the Bottom,” where I point out the inconsistencies on yahoo.com, we see that there’s some confusion over hyphen use:

fp debt relief hyph no hyph

New isn’t always better

The Yahoo! Health site has been completely redesigned. But it brings with it more articles written by Yahoo! staffers and hence, more and more errors.

Here’s an example; it’s not the worst writing you’ll see on Yahoo!. It’s just bad enough to make me skeptical of the accuracy of the content.

Are there less opportunities to exercise outside? No, there are fewer opportunities to exercise outside, so people are getting less exercise and doing fewer exercises:

overeat health 1

Actually, wrecking havoc would be a good thing. Better to wreck havoc than to wreak havoc (which means “to bring about” havoc):

overeat health 2

I can’t begin to fathom why the writer thought this apostrophe was necessary:

overeat health 3

Don’t look here for medical info

Yahoo! Health has gotten a makeover! This is supposed to be an improvement, I suppose, over its previous incarnation. But is the content any better? If you’re seeking accurate information about health that’s also well-written, I suggest you look elsewhere. Here’s what I found in just the first article I tried to read:

wiki health 1

The verb fess, derived from the verb confess, is not considered a contraction of confess. It’s just fess; no apostrophe required.

I thought the name of this journal was a little odd; that’s because the real name is the “Journal of Medical Internet Research.” And that claim that 90 percent of medical information on Wikipedia is inaccurate? That’s wrong, too.

wiki health 2

The truth is that a study of Wikipedia information on ten common medical issues revealed that nine of the ten articles contained an error. NOT 90 percent of all medical information. That’s a huge difference and one that illustrates the writer’s inability to grasp a simple fact.

If the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (which for some strange reason is italicized) is a government website, that’s news to me. I’m sure it’s also news to ACOG:

wiki health 3

Looking for accurate health and medical information? Follow the writer’s advice and try WebMD.

‘Tis a mystery

The apostrophe is a useful little mark. It’s often used to indicate where a letter is missin’ in a contraction. So, what letter did the writer think was missing in this opening paragraph on Yahoo! Travel?

tis apost travel

Is tis’ a contraction for tisk? tisp? ‘Tis a mystery, it is.

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