Is this what happens when a “journalist” uses a cell phone to write an article? Does it always result in missing spaces, grammatical errors, and typos? Or are these errors unique to Yahoo! News‘ “The Lookout”?

news kidnap


10 Responses to “Phoningitin”

  1. RMpaton Says:

    Funny as ever – I love this press because it fully assuages my pedantry and raises awareness of terrible grammar. Looking forward to the next post.

  2. ericjbaker Says:

    What? I didn’t notice any mistakes. Outside the 400 in that screen shot.

    Why must you hold Yahoo! to some unattainable standard of not being a joke?

  3. ZZMike Says:

    The writer saved a lot of space by dropping the spaces. At least, he followed the style book by putting the comma inside the quotes (where it doesn’t belong: the speaker does not say the comma).

    “were went” is clearly a missed key on the keyboard. Blueberry? Some of those virtual keyboards are really tiny, and some reporter’s thumbs (so I’ve heard) are rather large.

    To “lower one’s standards” is a military term, referring to a certain kind of flag.

    • Laura Says:

      Ah, the old comma inside/outside quotation marks controversy. In the U.S., it goes before the closing quotation mark.

      • ZZMike Says:

        True, that’s what the style book says …. but the question remains: did he say the comma? PS: Do you know how that came about? (I don’t.)

        • Laura Says:

          “And what if the quoted material is a question?” Laura asked. Does the question mark go after the closing quotation mark, because the speaker didn’t say the question mark?

          According to Wikipedia, “the American rule follows an older British standard. Before the advent of mechanical type, the order of quotation marks with periods and commas was not given much consideration. The printing press required that the easily damaged smallest pieces of type for the comma and period be protected behind the more robust quotation marks. The typesetter’s rule was standard in early 19th century Britain, and the U.S. style still adheres to this older tradition both in everyday use and in non-technical formal writing.”

        • ZZMike Says:

          OK, that makes sense.

          Jut kidding……..

          It sounds like the same logic that led to the injunction against splitting the infinitive: in Latin (and probably other Romance languages), the infinitive is a single word: “esse”: “to be”. So if you were writing in Latin, you couldn’t split the infinitive even if you wanted to. Lots of really important stuff was translated from Latin into English, and scholars noted that the infinitive was never split, Figuring that was really good style, they made it a Rule, back in the 1400s or so.

          (Personally, I like this form:

          Alice asked Bob, “What did Charlie say?”.

  4. Laura Says:

    Really? Are you sure there’s enough punctuation at the end of that sentence?

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