Blogger says claims too many words

UPDATE: On rereading this, I believe I was mistaken. It is not a case of an extraneous word, but a case of what looks like two verbs when it’s really a case of one verb (says) and a noun (claims). I wouldn’t have been so confuddled if this were: …Putin says that claims…

I think there’s at least one word too many on the Yahoo! front page:

fp says claims

Devaluing your words

There’s a place for repetition and redundancy in writing. It can help you emphasize an important fact. It can help remind your readers of something of value. But redundancy can also frustrate your readers and leave them with the impression that you’re a careless writer or worse. In the case on the Yahoo! front page, the redundancy makes the writer look a little vocabulary-challenged:

fp devalue

Since devalue means “to lessen or cancel the value of” (American Heritage Dictionary), “devalue the worth of” means “lessen the value of the worth of.” A tad redundant or maybe just nonsensical.

I prefer the optional essentials

From the Department of Redundancy Department, which is located just down the hall from Yahoo! Shine offices, we learn about must-have essentials that are probably also mandatory, required necessities:

must-have essentials shine

Redundant and repetitive writing

Quick! Someone hand the writer for a dictionary and show that person how to use it. You could start by looking up the definition of well-heeled:

fp rich

I have no clue what the writer thinks it means, but well-heeled means wealthy, prosperous, or rich.

It’s right where you left it

Displaying an astonishing command of the human anatomy, the writer for Yahoo! Sports explains that the left medial collateral ligament is still in the left knee:

left knee sports

Since a knee has only one medial collateral ligament, the left one would most likely be in the left knee. Telling readers that it’s in the left knee is like explaining that a player injured the left hand at the end of his left arm.

Did I mention it was quick?

The Yahoo! front page‘s pithy teasers are really pithy:

fp quick

Two to’s, too

There’s just one to too many in this teaser on Yahoo! Sports:

to to sports

Maybe the folks there are just having another bad day.

Did the editor proofread this? It might have been better if he had:

might have better sports

That’s what it means

If it were possible to make a self-deprecating joke about someone else, it wouldn’t be self-deprecating, would it? The writer for Yahoo! Sports just wants to be sure that you understand that self means self:

self-deprecating sports

Did I mention October 2010?

Yahoo! Celebrity used to be called omg!, but now we know that it’s a site about celebrities, not about exclamations by tweens. So, you gotta expect you’ll get expert info about celebrities.

Except that you won’t. The writers still can’t spell celeb names:

cates 1

The couple’s friend is actually Challen Cates.

They also seem to be suffering from Alzheimer’s. They can’t remember that they already told us about October 2010. And they’re not too swift when it comes to basic arithmetic; July 2012 isn’t two years after October 2010:

cates 2

And did I mention October 2010?

You don’t really need to know

Don’t you get insulted when a writer “talks down” to you? I know I do! I hate it when a writer uses a vocabulary that is so unsophisticated that even a rhesus monkey could understand it. I lose patience when the simplest terms are explained in excruciating detail. I can’t stand it when the writer has to torture the language just so it’s grammatically correct.

If you’re like me, then you’ll enjoy reading this article on Yahoo! News! This writer is so sure that you’re a member in good standing of Mensa that he doesn’t bother to insure that pronouns have actual antecedents (even if he knew what an antecedent was):

drunk news 1

He knows you don’t care if he drops the hyphen from the name of a newspaper. (It’s the Press-Citizen, but who really cares?) When you read that 2 AM is in the morning, you know he didn’t include that redundancy for you:

drunk news 2

It’s not often that you read something by a professional writer that contains a grammatical gaffe like the incorrect past tense of a common verb. OK, so it is often, if you’re reading an article by a Yahoo! employee and the article reads like the writer had drunk one too many Bud Lights:

drunk news 3

But that’s OK! It’s just a verb and you knew what he meant, right? And the missing hyphen (again) in Press-Citizen is no biggie. And you don’t have to know what PBT stands for, unless you’re a serious alcoholic, then you already know it’s short for preliminary breath test.

Wouldn’t you want to read about Chad Harvey while enjoying a helpful picture of someone named Matt Harvey? I know I would. Perhaps Matt Harvey is Chad Harvey’s brother. Or father. Or uncle. Or next-door neighbor, who looks enough like Chad to stand in for him in the article:

drunk news 4

The writer has enough confidence in your mental acuity that he doesn’t have to tell you what a BAC is. Heck, he doesn’t even have to form its plural correctly; he’s sure you won’t mind if he throws an apostrophe in there. (By the way, for you Mennonites and others who shun alcohol, BAC stands for blood alcohol content. Or Bank of America Corp.)

Finally, when you think things couldn’t get worse, the writer does not disappoint:

drunk news 5

Imagine not knowing where to put the correlative conjunction not only…but also. Imagine not knowing that the partner of not only is but also. But you know that. You would have written:

to have survived not only driving while intoxicated, but also the punishment they inflicted on their bodies.


to not only survive driving while intoxicated, but also survive the punishment they inflicted on their bodies.

But writing grammatically correct sentences is just patronizing your readers.


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