What don’t you understan?

With all the ‘stans in the world, sometimes it’s hard to keep them straight.  There’s Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. Heck, for the folks at yahoo.com, it’s hard just to spell one of them:

fp kaz

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Where does she keep the fruit?

Where would you keep blackberries, if you had to tote up to 10 of them? In a Ziploc? If you’re carrying the smartphone, it’s a BlackBerry. If you have 10 of them, they’re BlackBerrys. Only the writers and editors on the Yahoo! front page feel they have the authority to change the spelling of a trademark:

fp blackberries lc

To form the plural of a family name or trademark ending in Y, just add S. You don’t “change the Y to I and add ES” as you learned in second grade. So, the Kennedys, the O’Learys, and the Halle Berrys of this world all keep the Y in their name. Same goes for the BlackBerrys.

Writing about the movies

If you’re writing about the movies and you know nothing about writing — or movies — you might work for Yahoo! Movies:

sturgess movies

A real cinema maven knows who Preston Sturges is and knows how to spell his name. A real writer would never form the plural of brother with an apostrophe. And a real writer who writes for a U.S. audience knows that the period goes before the closing quotation mark.

Someone knows it’s LL Cool J!

Somebody at Yahoo! knows how to spell LL Cool J’s name. Unfortunately, the writer for Yahoo! TV‘s “Primetime in No Time” doesn’t know how to spell look-alike:

look-a-like tv pint

Stuck on stupid

Yesterday I made what I thought was a facetious claim: The writers for yahoo.com have given up trying to write accurately and correctly. They’ve abandoned all pretense of trying to state facts and are now content to make up information. I thought I was kidding. But it seems that the folks at the Yahoo! front page are just stuck on stupid. And I’m not trying to be facetious this time because I have proof:

fp big foot

The baby elephant is NOT in Borneo. It is a Borneo elephant (also called a Borneo pygmy elephant) and the incident in question occurred in Malaysia. “Puppy Bowl” is the name of a TV show; it is not what your best friend drinks from. And finally, Bigfoot may wear size 20 Nikes, but that doesn’t give you the right to change the spelling of his name.

Breaking news: Dress did not attack people

Listen, people! If you think that the dress that Jennifer Lawrence wore to the SAG Awards ripped, criticized, or attacked people, you are mistaken. I know this because I read it on Yahoo! Shine:

rip people shine

If you think that the writer of that headline is ignorant of the need for a comma to set off a direct address, you would be correct. The writer is actually addressing people and a comma before people would have told you that. Get that, people?

Time for a proofreading postmortem

After you’ve published a blog post or other writing to the Web, it’s helpful to do a postmortem. Look at what you’ve written in different browsers. Read it on different devices. And if you find an error, do a proofreading postmortem: Try to ascertain why the error slipped past your eyes or the eyes of your proofreader.

Of course, this advice does not apply to the Yahoo! front page, where errors are acceptable and postmortems are misspelled:

fp post-mortem

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