A dollar’s worth of punctuation

If you’re going to make a mistake in your writing, don’t make it in a headline. It just makes things worse, like this omission on Yahoo! News:

dollars worth news 2

What’s missing? An apostrophe in what should be “thousands of dollars’ worth.”

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.

Perk up your writing with hyphens!

Need to give your writing a shot in the arm? Can a hyphen perk up your literary pearls? Not if you use it incorrectly, as a writer for Yahoo! Sports illustrates:

perk-up sports

Is there more than one Batman?

Just how many Batmans (or is it Batmen?) return? That’s the question I’m left with after reading this on the Yahoo! front page:

fp batmans return

Actually, there’s only one Batman, and the film is about Batman’s return.

Think punctuation doesn’t matter?

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.

What’s it really called?

Gee, you’d think the people who write for the Yahoo! front page could keep their disagreements off the yahoo.com page. But, no, they can’t. They have to display them before millions of people:

fp everest jump

Can’t they decide when to capitalize jump? Can’t they agree on whether Everest jump needs quotation marks? No, they can’t.

Clash of styles

What do you do when you come up against a clash of styles? I’m not talking about wearing Birkenstocks with a prom gown, I’m talking about writing and trying to follow conflicting editorial guidelines. Case in point (or case and point, as one Yahoo! writer would say), this age on the Yahoo! front page:

fp 49 yr old

If you follow Associated Press style, you’d use numerals (not words) for the age of a person. But AP style also recommends not starting a sentence with numerals (except if the numerals are a year). If you write out the age correctly, it would be: Forty-nine-year-old. That’s a lot of hyphens. And it would violate the rule requiring numerals for the age of a person. So that would be: 49-year-old. But numerals can’t go at the beginning of a sentence.

I’m starting to feel a little dizzy.

What to do? Recast the sentence, of course! You’ll get a shorter sentence that’s easier to read without all those hyphens:

Bernard Hopkins, 49, seeks a historic bout…

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?

And then I stopped reading

Some things just stop me in my tracks when I’m reading. One of those things is a blatant, obvious error of fact that even I can identify. Here’s where I stopped reading an article on Yahoo! Movies: The second sentence of the opening paragraph:

nobel peace prize movies

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; however, he did receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.


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