Millions of dollars’ worth of errors

It’s really just one error and in appears on Yahoo! Makers:

dollars worth diy

This is a case of a quasi possessive. (It’s also an example of the genitive case, which is more grammar than I like.) Anyhoo, if you’re unsure whether you’re faced with a simple plural or a quasi possessive, try this: Substitute the number 1 for the number in the phrase. So, instead of “millions of dollars worth,” try “one dollars worth.” Notice that I used dollars, and not dollar, because that sounds right to me. But of course it’s not a plural, so it must be a possessive: one dollar’s worth. This method depends on having an “ear” for correct language, something Yahoo! writers seem to lack.

How many is too many?

How many mistakes are acceptable in a sentence? Zero? One? Two? Three? That’s what seems to be okie-dokie over at Yahoo! Style, where the writer misspelled French Riviera, used the wrong preposition in what should be arriving at, and banged out dressed instead of dress:

rivera sty 2

In baseball, that would be three strikes, sending the batter to the dugout. I wonder where Yahoo! sends its writers who strike out. Oh, yeah. Yahoo! sends them to their next writing assignment.

The horizon is horizontal

This is Gigi Hadid.

horiz sty pic

Now that I have your attention, please note the caption that accompanied that photo on Yahoo! Style:

horiz sty 1

Is there anything “horizontal” about the cut-out in Ms. Hadid’s dress? Is there any way to tell the writer that horizontal is not the correct word? The writer meant vertical. Perhaps the writer can be reminded of the mnemonic device we learned in fourth grade: The horizon is horizontal.

At the mercy of the writer

Readers of are at the mercy of the writer and editor. If they screw up, then the reader can be misled.

fp mercy

Reading that headline, you might think that the sky has shown the Oklahoma town mercy and the town has endured. You would be wrong. And the writer is even wronger. The idiom “at the mercy of” means “without protection against.” The town endures in spite of being at the mercy of the sky.

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