What do harried shoppers hoard?

What do hordes of harried shoppers hoard? That’s what I want to know after reading this on Yahoo! DIY:

hoards of shoppers

For people concerned about the impression they make, correct grammar is a chance to display their intelligence to friends and family (and maybe instill pride in themselves, too).

People who write correctly know not to change person in a sentence.They know that if you start writing about “people on a budget” you don’t switch to “yourself,” but rather use the pronoun “themselves” because its antecedent is “people.”

Showcasing your mistakes

OK, so how do you write about a designer showcase in Kips Bay and not be able to spell the town’s name correctly? Huh? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that a Yahoo! Shine writer who is that careless would create more errors than a show house has rooms.

The writer may have been trying to be politically correct by using the combo his/her, but maybe gave up when she couldn’t figure out that the subjective case of the combined pronoun is he/she. So she used they. But not before using a noun (makeover) where a verb is called for (make over):

Here’s a recap of these errors: Recap doesn’t have a hyphen, there’s a repeated word, and there’s that Kip’s Bay again!

My advice to the writer: Don’t be afraid to proofread. You might find that you should have used snakeskinlike, and not the goofy snake skin-like:

Don’t be afraid to check the spelling of names; you might avoid misspelling names like Sherrill Canet:

Although many people misuse comprise, if you’re a professional writer, you should know better. And you should know that the compound adjective wood-and-plaster needs hyphens. But I’m impressed with the injection of humor here. Who doesn’t love an egg-shaped artist?

The use of comprised of  is still wrong. And what’s wrong with using a real word, like wintry, rather than making up something that makes you look dumb?

Time to ask for help. Or is it?

Don’t be too embarrassed to ask for help. Even the best journalists need a little assistance from an editor. And you, dear, aren’t the best of journalists. You do need an editor. This article you wrote for Yahoo! Shine really is not good. And I’m just speaking of the grammar, spelling, and punctuation stuff.

Let’s just assume you were out of the room when your third-grade teacher taught the class to put a comma between a city and country. It’s not your fault!

And I’ll overlook the fact that the company you work for doesn’t use a style guide to tell you when to spell out a number and when to use numerals. And your employer doesn’t care about a silly little hyphen in a compound adjective like six-month and doesn’t care if you’re writing about a hotel called Villa or The Villa:

It’s not your fault if you forgot to tell us just what Barton G. Weiss is “the president, owner and founder” of. (Really, who cares?) And the one big standout here, which is a misspelling, is a minor slip:

Pronouns? Pfffft! So you start writing about guests and rather than refer to them with stupid pronouns like their and them, you switch to speaking to the reader. That’s getting personal! Bringing your reader in! An editor would only make this sentence grammatically correct, and who needs that kind of interference?

OK, so here you decide that the hotel is called The Villa, which is the actual name, so you got something right:

And an editor would only mess with your creative use of the comma and your disdain for the hyphen in another compound adjective:

This isn’t a brand-new mistake; in fact, you and other Yahoo! writers are rather fond of it:

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe you don’t need an editor. You’re doing fine. Or at least you’re doing as well as the other writers and editors who work for Yahoo!. Forget I mentioned the whole editor-thing.

File this under “WTF”

Some writing is so bad that it defies explanation. This article on Yahoo! Shine falls into that category.

It starts with some really talented fish. I don’t know how they do it, but a bunch of random people can put the feet in a tank of fish, and the fish will nibble on your feet:

fish shine 1

Apparently you don’t even have to be in the same state or even the same room as the fish.

The writer makes a nice try with capitalizing stateside; unfortunately, it’s wrong:

fish shine 2

And in the worst writing I’ve encountered in a long time, the writer illustrates the value of proofreading:

fish shine 3

File this mess under “WTF.”

Predator? I thought you said editor

What can a writer do when he or she discovers that an experienced editor lives down the street?  Take advantage of the proximity! Maybe the editor knows how to write a complete sentence without switching person and could save the writer the embarrassment  suffered by the constructor of this sentence on Yahoo! Shine:

predator shine parenting

Celine Dion can expect more

Celine Dion is expecting her second child. If she’s reading the Yahoo! Shine article about her pregnancy, she can also expect a few grammatical goofs resulting in a mysterious sentence and some general hilarity.

This mystery of this sentence could be cleared up by removing a word:

dion shine 1

Sorry, but the hyphens here are just wrong:

dion shine 2

If you’re using an age as a noun (like, “the 25-year-old”) or an adjective (“a 25-year-old woman”), give it two hyphens; but “years old” goes hyphen-free.

The hilarity? It’s here:

dion shine 3

I haven’t had children in their late 30s or 40s — yet. They’re much younger than that. The problem with this sentence arises because the writer (a so-called “professional”) changes person, from the second person (“you”) to the third person (“their”) and the reader naturally assumes the antecedent of “their” is “children.”

Who’s getting the attention?

He deserves the attention, but Yahoo! Shine recommends you give it to them:

marriage shine

Who the heck is “them”?

Mix-and-match persons

Starting off with too many words, this post from the editors of Yahoo! News moves on to a change in person:

lets users to post news blog

No, it’s not a transsexual thing. It’s a case of writing about “users” (which is third person, grammatically speaking) and switching to “you” (which is second person).

It’s not good news

I’m sorry to be the one to say this, but I must. The blog Yahoo! Profiles News is just not good. It may contain useful information, but with the number of errors it displays, who can trust it?

Here are just a few examples: The use of a hyphen instead of a dash is a relatively minor but annoying problem. But the inability to distinguish between a singular noun (like parenthesis) and its plural (parentheses) does not reflect well on the writer and his or her employer:


A simple hyphen would make right hand right, and changing your contact card to a contact card would make the sentence actually understandable:


It’s such a common mistake on Yahoo! that I’m surprised someone hasn’t told the writers there that it’s is not a possessive pronoun:


The subject of this sentence is singular, and its verbs should be, too:


And finally, I’m altogether confused by the use and placement of all together here:


It makes no sense to me

Sometimes I read a single paragraph on the Web that is so confused and confusing that I can’t list all the problems with it in a few sentences. Sometimes those paragraphs, like this one, appear on Yahoo! Shine:


I think there’s an extra word in the first sentence. Or maybe an extra word and a missing word. I know the period belongs inside the parentheses in the second sentence. And I can guess what the author meant by “we’ll regain since school let out.” It probably means “we’ll regain that we lost since school let out.” But why start out writing in the first person (using our, I, and we) and switch to the second person (you and your)? It makes no sense to me.

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