This little sentence from Yahoo! Style stopped me in my tracks:
What the heck did the writer really mean? Stopped traffic? Stopped trucks? Stopped tricks?
Yahoo! writers aren’t known for their mathematical ability. Or even their 3-grade arithmetic ability. It’s enough that they manage to write a sentence with both a subject and a verb, like this one:
So, don’t be criticizing this writer because this is almost correct — meaning that it is completely wrong:
At 51.5 inches, the woman’s legs are 4 feet, 3.5 inches long. That’s not almost 4 feet, 3 inches because almost means “slightly short of; not quite; nearly,” according to the American Heritage Dictionary. But at least the sentence has a subject and verb. There’s that.
Sometimes separating a number from the words that explain it, isn’t such a bright idea. Take this excerpt from Yahoo! Finance:
You might think, as I did, that $29,000 was 67% less than claimed earnings of $90,000. Then you might think, as I did, that $29,000 was the real median. And then you’d reread the sentence to reassure yourself that the real median was $61,000, or 33% less than claimed. Or maybe $61,000—67% of the amount claimed. But not, 67% less than claimed.
I’m starting to get a headache. I think I’ll go take 4 or 5 Advil and go lie down.