That’s not all right

Not everything in this paragraph from Yahoo! TV’s “Primetime in No Time” is all wrong — just a few things. Like “especially between Kenya Moore went after…” What’s with that? And why does the writer forget to include the in “tumbled to (the) ground” and “stormed off (the) set”? But the bigger issue is the use of alright, which is considered nonstandard. Are you all right with that spelling?

alright tv

Here’s what the American Heritage Dictionary says:

Despite the frequent use of the form alright the single word spelling is still widely viewed as nonstandard. In our 2009 survey, more than two-thirds of the Usage Panel rejected alright in examples like Don’t worry. Everything will be alright, whereas over 90 percent accepted all right in the same examples. This resistance may seem peculiar, since similar fusions incorporating all, such as already and altogether, have never raised any objections. The difference may lie in the fact that already and altogether became single words back in the Middle Ages, whereas alright has only been around for a little more than a century and was called out by language critics as a misspelling. Readers may view the use of alright, especially in formal writing, as an error or a willful breaking of convention.

That’s quite a vocabulary you have!

How about we all agree that the writer for Yahoo! News’ “Trending Now” uses words in a new way. Maybe not the way the words were intended to be used, but at least he’s creative.

When he has an issue with something, he doesn’t tackle it, he doesn’t address it, he solves it! Just as if it were a problem. And when discussing a refrigerator, he lets you know that his has a bin on the front door (and apparently a back door, too?) and not shelves. When reading his articles, you also run into words that get split into two words:

fridge news 1

I didn’t know what an egg container was until I read further. Silly me, I thought it was the eggshell. But no, it’s the egg carton. (At least that’s what it’s commonly called in the U.S.)  This guy also loves the sound of his own typing. Instead of telling us that Mr. Brown places each bottle upside down, he goes on and on:

fridge news 2

And what about those crevasses? A crevasse is a deep fissure or crack, like in a glacier or a levee. I suspect the writer meant crevice, which is the wrong word also. A crevice is a narrow crack or opening. The compartments of an egg carton are called compartments or dimples.

It’s not a code

I’ve been looking at this sentence on the Yahoo! front page for a day (OK, not like a full day, maybe a few minutes, but I started yesterday). I can’t figure out why one would need to decipher the winner in the west:

fp decipher

I’m trying to decipher what that means. Does it mean “predict the winner in the west”? And the winner of what? I’m guessing it has something to do with basketball. Anyhoo, back to the word decipher. It means (at least to the American Heritage Dictionary):

  1. To read or interpret (ambiguous, obscure, or illegible matter).
  2. To convert from a code or cipher to plain text; decode.

As best as I can tell, decipher means that the writer used the wrong word.

Mistake so basic leaves me astounded

Making pizza dough requires water, salt, yeast, and flower. Flower? Yup, that’s what it says on Yahoo! News:

flower news

I’m thinkin’ maybe dahlias would work in the dough. And thank goodness there’s no flour, because lots of folks are gluten-intolerant these days. Since the topping includes “basic leaves,” then maybe the branch of an oak or maple would have enough leaves. So how come the topping doesn’t include basil?

Mass mess is a miss

What a mess! It’s not often we see so many errors in so few words — even on the Yahoo! front page:

fp pleas

According to the Associated Press stylebook (which some at Yahoo! allege they follow), the title pope isn’t capitalized unless it precedes the pope’s name, like Pope Francis. The Catholic Mass is a proper noun. Pleas is a noun also, but a common one. It’s not a verb; the verb is pleads.

Ditch those colorful foods this Easter!

Forget about serving “colorful foods that will light up your table.” (Light up my table? Like what? Garlic bulbs?) Stick with the classics like ham and deviled eggs:

fp sub

That’s the advice on the Yahoo! front page.  Unless, of course, the writer meant substitute ham and deviled eggs with colorful foods.

What’s still going on at Yahoo?

Yesterday I did something I seldom do; I published a blog post with multiple boo-boos from the Yahoo! front page. Usually I just cover one, but the errors on yahoo.com were so numerous, that I lumped them all in a single post.

Did I just write “all”? That’s not quite accurate, because after that post went live, the hits misses just kept on comin’. Like this attempt at trying to spell Sprinkler:

fp sprinker

And this pathetic try at Steve Carell’s name:

fp steve carrell

This looks to be an attempt at saying “Johnny Manziel owes his appeal to” or “Johnny Manziel’s appeal is due to”:

fp appeal owes to

Oh, lordie. This so-called headline contains redundant quotation marks. Don’t use quotation marks if you’re using so-called because they mean the same thing:

fp so-called costco

I’m no chemist (in fact, chemistry was my weakest subject in college), but I know something about logic. Here’s the scoop: If everything in the world is made up of chemicals, you really don’t need to tell us that “not all are toxic” because it’s unlikely there would still be a human being alive if everything were toxic:

fp chemicals

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.

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?

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.

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