Your simile went over like a lead balloon

A simile is a great literary device to add color and interest to your writing. Unless you’re writing like this Yahoo! Travel scribe, whose simile goes over like a lead balloon:

kleenex

Why? Because Kleenex is not tissue paper; it’s called just plain ol’ tissue or facial tissue. This pink stuff is tissue paper:

tissue paper

 

First, learn to read

You’d think that the ability to read a simple sentence would be a requirement for a position of writer at yahoo.com. I don’t think it is. How else do you explain this claim about an article on “offbeat shrines” and “wacky food museums”?

fp museums

Here’s the title of the article:

pez

If by “offbeat shrines” the writer means “factories,” then that’s accurate. If by “wacky food museums” the writer means “factories,” then that’s accurate, too.

Perhaps someone will read the article to the yahoo.com writer, since that seems beyond the scope of the job (or maybe just the writer’s abilities).

Did you mean a turkey hooker?

I’d like to ask the writer for Yahoo! Food one question: What the heck were you thinking?

solicit food

The only food I’ve seen soliciting was a turkey standing on a street corner — before she was stuffed:

turkey hooker

I’ve had lots of foods that elicited (or even more appropriately, evoked) an emotional response from me, including cottage cheese (blehk) and ham-and-banana hollandaise (yum!).

Did you hit the tequila before you wrote that?

Maybe the writer was doing a little research, testing a drink recipe, before writing about tequila on the Yahoo! front page:

fp tequilla

Do I repeat repeat myself?

Would you have spotted the repeated word word here on the Yahoo! front page:

fp at at

or here here?

fp in the in the

Here’s a lesson for you

Here’s a brief lesson for a Yahoo! Travel: Employing the services of a competent editor may lessen the number of mistakes you make:

lessons health

A number of errors and the amount of brainpower behind them

Here are a couple of errors on Yahoo! Sports that are relatively rare. So unusual, in fact, that I think the writer may be a student of English as a Second Language:

amount of leagues

How often have you seen amount used when number is so obviously called-for? Uh, never. At the risk of boring all the literate Terribly Write readers, let me summarize: Use amount of with uncountable nouns; it is often used with singular mass nouns such as an amount of money, an amount of love, an amount of time. Number of is used with countable nouns, which are usually plural, like number of errors, number of students, number of leagues.

And since we’re talking about leagues, we might want to consider why the writer thought that they should be referred to by the pronoun who, which should be used exclusively for human beings. (The writer should have chosen that instead of who.) Maybe the writer thought leagues are people, too.

First time in a dorm? Don’t bother with this

Only students who’ve lived in a dormitory (and who are headed back to a dorm) need read this article described on yahoo.com:

fp headed back

So, if you’re going to be a freshman, living in a dorm for the first time, look elsewhere for advice.

(It’s interesting how a little word like back can change the meaning of that sentence.)

Sometimes I just have to say it

Sometimes I just have to say it: This is idiotic. This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read on a supposed news site:

tank in texas

As if I needed more evidence that Yahoo! is outsourcing writing of Yahoo! News to non-English-speaking countries, we have this. The writer obviously thinks a tank is the same thing as a tanker. This is a tank (courtesy of Wikipedia):

tank

The vessel in the Yahoo! News picture is a tanker. It is a ship. It holds oil. It travels in the ocean. It could not disappear in Texas since Texas is not an ocean.

The tanker disappeared off the coast of Texas.

Is that your question?

Bachelor? Yup, that’s a question. And it’s the question asked on the Yahoo! front page:

fp bachelor quot ques

I don’t know what’s so hard about this: If the words inside quotation marks form a question, the question mark goes before the closing quotation mark.

Would you call that rule “gnarly”?

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