Not-so-common core

Com’on! Don’t tell me the editors at Yahoo! News didn’t notice this typo:

comon news

Were you being facetious?

Was this a deliberate tongue-in-cheek slip-up, or does the writer for Yahoo! Travel really think this is the correct idiom?

tongue travel

The expression is “tongue-in-cheek” and it means “Meant or expressed ironically or facetiously” (American Heritage Dictionary).

Shocking election news from Kansas

According to the ever-reliable yahoo.com, there will be no Democrats on ballots in Kansas. (OK, so the writer actually said “in Kan. ballots,” but I’m trying to be compassionate and understanding about the use of the incorrect preposition since many English-language learners have difficulty with prepositions.)

fp no dem

How in the heck did that happen?! Quite simple. The writer is wrong and possibly impaired by an illegal substance. As of today, some Kansas ballots will not have a Democratic candidate for Senate.

Don’t discount the usefulness of a dictionary

I don’t know what’s so “rock-bottom” about a discount of $1.50 at a movie theater. My local cineplex offers a $2.00 senior discount every day. The writer for yahoo.com needs to consult a dictionary; it’ll show that discount means “a reduction from the standard price”:

fp discount

Lessons from Yahoo Health

You can learn a lot just by reading the headlines at the home page of Yahoo! Health. You won’t learn anything about health, but you will learn what not to do when you write.

 

Lesson 1: Make sure your text isn’t longer than the space reserved for it.

You might read this and wonder “Sneak a workout in at what?” The opera? The line outside the ladies room at Yankee Stadium? Your kid’s piano recital? The options are endless.

miss word health

 

Lesson 2: Not every sentence beginning with what is a question.

This headline isn’t a question and “Listen to Your Body” isn’t a question. The only question is why would anyone think that question mark is necessary. Oh, and another question: How did you get a job as a writer?

what quest health

 

Lesson 3: You can’t always trust your spell-checker.

Facing a jury verdict and want to rise above it? You can! And you can do it in time for Race Day, which is apparently when you start running before they take you in for sentencing:

jury health

Unfortunately, it’s not rarely seen

On the Yahoo! front page, the hyphen is overused, as it is in this recently published teaser:

fp recently-deceased 2

Perhaps if the writers were closely watched they wouldn’t throw a hyphen in after an adverb ending in -LY:

fp closely-watched 2

This mistake isn’t rarely seen; it occurs quite often on yahoo.com:

fp rarely-seen 2

Here’s what these writers don’t understand: An adverb ending in -LY is a signal to the reader that it modifies the word that follows it. There’s no need to join those two words with a hyphen.

Where prices are superfluous

Regardless of what they might think at yahoo.com, readers aren’t interested in the cheapest and most expensive beer prices, they’re interested in the cheapest and most expensive beer, except for people like me who don’t care for beer or football:

fp varies

Everyone, including me, likes a verb matched to its subject, so we’re not crazy about the use of varies (which should be vary) because the subject (cost and size) is plural.

Nothing says ‘I don’t give a crap’ like umf

There’s lots of bad writing on the Internet, even by paid professionals. And when they don’t give a crap about their writing, you’ll likely see factual errors, misspellings, and incorrect word choices. That’s what I was thinking when I read this on Yahoo! Travel:

breakfast travel 1

This is allegedly about something called “Hearty Eggs,” but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s really about haggis. It’s clear the writer was a tad confused about her subject, just as she was confused about the difference between further and farther, the word that refers to real, physical distance.

But nothing says “I don’t give a sh*t” like umf, which I take to be a lazy writer’s attempt at oomph. Umf is not a word, but it is an abbreviation and according to the Urban Dictionary it means “ugly motherf***er,” which I don’t think the writer meant. Although if she reads this, she may be thinking that.

Not a geography expert?

Not the winner of the National Geographic Bee, but still think you got what it takes to write about places around the world? No worries! You can write for the Yahoo! front page, where knowledge of geography (or just about any subject) is not required:

fp cabo

Even if you think that there’s a town named Cabo in a Mexican state called San Lucas, you could work at yahoo.com. Imagine how far you’d get if you actually know that the city is Cabo San Lucas.

It’s not just a replica

Jerry “The King” Lawler doesn’t own just a replica of a famous car, he owns a replica version of it. Which is something different, I guess — at least in the minds of yahoo.com staffers:

fp version 60s

Also different in their minds is the plural 1960s, which really doesn’t need that apostrophe.

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