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.

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?

Not affordable?

I guess maybe a spell-checker just isn’t affordable for the folks at the Yahoo! front page:

fp affordabe

Let’s hope this puts an end to the typos on yahoo.com:

fp and end

How did Vera Wang start the trend?

There’s apparently a new trend in wedding gowns. It was started by Vera Wang with “pink and collections.”

fp pink

Thank you, yahoo.com writer, for enlightening us.

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.

Is it contagious?

Just a few days ago, someone at Yahoo! thought you could spell manager with only one A. So, is it surprising that another misspelled manager showed up on yahoo.com?

fp manger

Are typos now contagious?

Authoress’s claim

I don’t know what happened to the S that supposed to be on the Yahoo! front page. Maybe it slipped out when no one was looking. If someone had seen it, I wonder what the witness’s claim would be:

fp witness claim

I bet the writer thinks that’s correct: That you form the possessive of a singular, common noun ending in S by adding just an apostrophe. A lot of authorities, including the Associated Press and the Chicago Manual of Style, would disagree. They say that the plural of a singular, common noun ending in S requires an apostrophe and an S. The only exception AP makes is when the possessive is followed by a word that starts with S, because the would be just too many S’s (so, it’s witness’s claim, but witness’ story).

Do I have to draw you a picture?

A great photograph can convey feelings, emotions, and a surprising amount of information. It can save you words — as long as you pick the right pic. Here’s how a writer at Yahoo! Shine illustrated the benefits of coconut oil:

pic coconut oil

You, too, can be young, tall, and slim all while nonchalantly resting on a mailbox. Looks great! Hey, waiter, I’ll have another latte with Splenda and coconut oil!

And when I’m done sipping that coffee beverage, I’m going to clean my fridge because those miniblinds on the fridge’s glass door don’t clean themselves:

pic fridge window

Then I think I’ll make dinner. How does spaghetti carbonara sound? Only without the spaghetti. Kinda like this linguini on yahoo.com:

pic fp spag pic

I think the pictures and headlines on Yahoo! are far more entertaining that the actual articles.


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