What’s going on at Yahoo?

There’s something really weird going on at yahoo.com. The number of bone-headed mistakes on that page has exploded. Is it a new writing staff? A bunch of interns hired for the summer? Outsourcing to a non-English-speaking country? Here’s just some of the things spotted on today’s Yahoo! front page.

If the marathon you’re writing about is in Boston, it’s the Boston Marathon (with a big M). That’s not the only thing I’d quibble about, though. I can’t say I agree with the statement that “retrievers are used to distract” people. There are many, many documented benefits to petting a dog, including lowering blood pressure:

fp marathon

Here’s a use of chide that’s new to me: It’s used as a transitive verb (meaning it has a direct object, in this case decision), so it means “to reprimand or scold mildly.” I don’t think anyone was chiding the decision — the person who made the decision, maybe was chided.

fp chided

Ah, the old subject-verb disagreement. There can’t be any disagreement that the subject is tenor and the verb should be is. Also, there’s that dangling modifier at the beginning of the sentence, which appears to modify tenor (which makes no sense), though it likely should modify the writing on the boat:

fp tenor are

OK, here’s a mystery for you: What was Iran stockpiling? Government cheese? This doesn’t contain a grammatical or spelling error. This is what is known as an error of omission: It tells you nothing.

fp stockpile

I almost spit out my sugar-free, nonfat vanilla latte when I read this:

fp cafe

The name of that café is a mouthful, n’est-ce pas? The hilarity continues when you realize that the poor French-challenged writer has mashed up Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots.

If you’re reading something online right now (and I think you are), then according to Yahoo!, that is the reason you procrastinate. It is not what you do when you procrastinate, it is the cause of the procrastination. Good to know.

fp procrastinate

Here’s one you can disagree with, but according to the American Heritage Dictionary, the preferred spelling in the U.S. is disk:

fp disc

And we’re back to that old bugaboo — matching a subject (series) with its verb (hint: it shouldn’t be show):

fp series show

Finally, there’s another preferred spelling: light-years (with a hyphen):

fp light years

Whew! That’s all for now. And by that I mean, I’m going to go get two Advils and lie down.

And bad days sit around doing nothing

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:

good days work news

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.

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

I do not think it means what you think it means

If you’re a writer whose words are read by millions of people around the world, you shouldn’t use words that you don’t understand. Or that you only think you understand. The yahoo.com writer responsible for this brilliant sentence probably thinks it makes sense. It does not:

fp drudgery

Drudgery is “tedious, menial, or unpleasant work” (American Heritage Dictionary). So, what did the writer really mean? I have no idea. Do you?

Prosecution not quite aggressive in Pistorius trial

The writers for yahoo.com could be a bit more aggressive in their pursuit of an error-free site.

fp agressive

OK, OK. We don’t know if they care about the errors on Yahoo! and if they are actually pursuing eliminating them. But really, couldn’t someone have noticed this before it was published?

That’s not nice

It’s not nice to laugh and point at others who have stumbled. Case in point, the writer for Yahoo! News’ “Trending Now” who has a little problem with English:

case and point ledge

I point this out to be instructive: The idiom is case in point.  And any father would be wise to keep a baby off a building’s ledge. But it wasn’t a ledge that was attracting the toddler; it was a balcony.  As Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.

Headline mix-up

I can’t imagine what a “pregnancy mix” would be, but it sounds like it involves multiple sperm donors and a Waring blender.

mix shine

An alternate explanation? This is just one more mix-up on Yahoo! Shine.

It can accommodate one more

It’s surprising (at least to me) to see this word misspelled on Yahoo! Movies:

accomodate movies

It’s on everyone’s list of the most commonly misspelled words, so I thought a professional writer — especially one who doesn’t deign to use a spell-checker — would be familiar with that list and would take extra care when pounding out one of those words. But noooo. The writer just doesn’t know (or care) that accommodate can accommodate two M’s.

Littler little-known

Little-known just got littler on Yahoo! Sports:

litte sports

That explains a lot

If you’ve wondered how the many egregious mistakes made by Yahoo!’s writers can go uncorrected, consider these excerpts from an article written by Yahoo! Shine’s senior fashion and beauty editor.

You’d expect that a senior fashion and beauty editor could spell the name of designer Monique Lhuillier, wouldn’t you? But she gets it wrong here

palate 1

and here:

palate 4

Designer Galia Lahav doesn’t fare much better:

palate 3

Finally (although I can’t say for certain that this is the last error in the article), there’s this embarrassing homophonic error:

palate 2

A palate is the roof of a mouth; a palette is the board artists use to hold and mix paints, or a range of colors.

If a senior editor is a careless writer who can’t be bothered to proofread and confuses common homophones, is it any wonder that writing on Yahoo! is so amateurish?

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