Drinking on the job?

It looks like someone at yahoo.com has been sipping on the Thanksgiving sherry while on the job:

fp thankgiving

From a complete nonsense of a non-sentence (a verb in there would be helpful and comparing Hannah and Charlie Brown to unforgettable feasts defies logic) to misspelling Thanksgiving, this has all the hallmarks of the work of an imbibing scribbler.

Pilgrim’s progress

We certainly haven’t seen a lot of progress in the writing on the Yahoo! front page. The writers still have problems with hitting the Shift key when they encounter a proper noun:

fp pilgrims lc

The people who celebrated the first Thanksgiving were the Pilgrims, with a capital P.

Oh! Naturel!

Oh, those wacky writers at the Yahoo! front page! There they go again trying to sound all sophisticated with their attempts at French:

fp au natural

The expression is au naturel; it’s an adjective and it means “in a natural state.” Just because natural is part of its definition, don’t assume it’s part of its spelling.

This is either horrible or laughable

Here’s one of the mistakes you’ll find on yahoo.com that makes you want to laugh or cry:

fp either is

It’s so sad to think that there are adults out there, making a living as professional writers, who have not mastered the use of the correlative conjunction either…or.

This is not rocket surgery, people. The conjunction must join parallel elements, which means they must be the same parts of speech. To check if you’ve got parallel elements, read the sentence up to the or (omitting the either).

The defense secretary’s departure is a strategic play by the White House

Then read the sentence from the start of the sentence up to either and tack on the words after the or:

The defense secretary’s departure is he is being used as a scapegoat.

Sounds stupid, no? That’s because the either…or is joining a noun phrase (a strategic play by the White House) and a complete clause (he is being used as a scapegoat). Here’s one way to rewrite that sentence so that the conjunction joins two independent clauses:

Either the defense secretary’s departure is a strategic play by the White House, or he is being used as a scapegoat.

Daryl Dixon and a Ziploc bag

If you mean Daryl Dixon, the character from “The Walking Dead,” and Ziploc, the trademarked plastic zipper storage bag, then learn to spell them correctly. If you don’t, you’ll wind up looking like a graduate of the Yahoo School of Journalism:

fp ziplock

Capital crimes

There’s something about hitting the Shift key on their keyboard at the right time that just eludes the writers at the Yahoo! front page. Like the time they should have capitalized Cabinet:

fp cabinet lc 2

Or a few minutes later when someone decided to pound this out with some unnecessary caps:

fp sec of def

According to Associated Press style, Cabinet is capitalized when referring to the president’s advisers, but secretary of defense is not unless it directly precedes a name.

Solo act

You know those red Solo cups that you use to play beer pong? They’re trademarked and get a capital S. Except on the Yahoo! front page where writers and editors don’t care about such trivialities:

fp solo

You’re under arrest

The grammar police should make an arrest at the yahoo.com headquarters for this gaffe:

fp him being arrested

Did that really sound right to the writer? If so, then he or she needs to hang around people who speak proper English and start reading something other than Facebook timelines and Twitter posts.

The correct pronoun is the possessive his because being is a gerund, which is a verb functioning as a noun. The writer could have avoided this embarrassment by simply writing “by his arrest.” Easy, no?

This often gets mistaken for correct English

Actually, no, it doesn’t. This kind of mistake is not often mistaken for correct except over at the Yahoo! front page:

fp mistaken as

I can’t say that I’ve ever read or heard “mistaken as a daughter/girl/writer.” Ever. It’s one of those mistakes that makes me wonder where Yahoo! finds its writers.

Did they get 4000 dollar bills?

Unless Larry Ellison paid these pilots using 4000 one-dollar bills, the writer for the Yahoo! front page used the wrong verb:

fp dollars were

It’s not a mistake you see very often (except on yahoo.com), but this verb is just wrong; it should be “was.” When the subject is a collective noun such as distance, a length of time, or a sum of money, the verb should be singular:

  • Four dollars is too much to pay.
  • Three miles isn’t that far.
  • Two hours is an acceptable delay.
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