Nailing the cliche

One editor for Yahoo! Style didn’t exactly nail this cliché:

nail on the coffin

A nail on a coffin wouldn’t be as effective as a nail in a coffin. The cliché is “a nail in the coffin” or “the last (or final) nail in a coffin.”

Raking mud

The writer for Yahoo! Celebrity should be raked over the coals for this mishmash:

raked thru mud cel

It looks like he just couldn’t figure out what the correct idiom is. Or maybe he thinks that is the correct idiom, when it’s really a mash-up of “raked over the coals” (which means to reprimand severely) and “dragged through the mud” (which means to malign, defame, or slander).

Your writing isn’t up to snuff

Dear Yahoo! Shine writer: This is to inform you that based on your ignorance of common English idioms your writing doesn’t pass muster. It is not up to snuff.

pass snuff sty

You might consider taking an English class in night school or writing only in your native language. ‘Snuff said.

What is your picture saying?

I happen to think that if “a picture speaks a thousand words,” then that’s not the kind of picture I want in my house. I like the quiet. I also happen to think that the writer for Yahoo! DIY doesn’t know that the expression is “a picture is worth a thousand words”:

pic speaks 1000 words

Frankly, I’d rather listen to a picture than read more of her words.

What would be better than your best face?

You know what would be better than putting your best face forward? Putting your best foot forward, because that’s the correct idiom. And better still would be the use of an appropriate idiom on Yahoo! Autos:

best face autos

Designers who put their best foot forward are acting so as to make a good impression. Perhaps putting their best designs forward would be more appropriate. (And if you’re wondering about those little characters at the end of the paragraph — the word has been clipped to fit in the space provided. Readers have to click the View More link to read the rest of the sentence.)

Taken to the next misstep

This headline on the Yahoo! front page takes idiotic idioms to the next level:

fp next step

I suppose if you’re just learning English, you might not know common expressions like “take it to the next level” or “take the next step.” If that’s the case, I suggest you have someone familiar with common idioms edit your writing before you publish it.

Can the tables be turned?

What a difference one little word can make. When it was reported on that a car dealership turns tables, I was a bit puzzled:

fp turns tables

All I could think about was the Jonas Brothers turning a table:


What the writer meant was “turns the tables.” That’s the idiom and it means “To reverse a situation and gain the upper hand,” according to the American Heritage Dictionary.

An awkard surpise

When I read this headline (just like another one) on Yahoo! Shine I was sure that the writer made two typos, not two misspellings.

aca 1

Well, I don’t know about surpise, but it sure looks like the writer thought she knew how to spell a cappella:

aca 2

She probably also thought she knew the name of the TV show “The Sing-Off” — she was almost right.

Perhaps the writer is still learning English and all its odd expressions and cliches. That might account for her screwing up the expression “dressed to the nines,” meaning “very fashionably and elaborately dressed.” I wouldn’t call a white shirt, black pants, and a skinny black tie “dressed to the nines” or even “coordinating dapper duds,” since the “duds” were all the same.

aca 3

But I quibble. I should be focusing on something more substantial, like screwing up the title of the song “(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love With You,” which contains the lyric “only fools rush in.” And botching the Disney tune “Do You Want to Build a Snowman.”

There’s an extra word here and an inexplicable allegation that “all of their hearts melted with gratitude” (it’s doubtful that the gal who ran away was oozing gratitude):

aca 4

Finally, after all the awkward wording, inaccuracies, and misspellings, the writer leaves us with one last awkwardness:

aca 5

How does he get his glove on?

If you’ve got the world around your finger, can you put on boxing gloves? And what the hell is the world doing around your finger?

around his finger

You can have the world wrapped around your little finger. You can have the world on a string and the string around your finger. Not satisfied with those old metaphors, the geniuses at Yahoo! Sports have made up their own. I doubt that it’ll catch on.

What hue is that?

Anyone know what hues we might find under the rainbow? I’ve heard about “every color under the sun” and “every color of the rainbow,” but I’m thinking there must be some really special colors under a rainbow:

hue under the rainbow omg

Thanks to the cliché-challenged writer at Yahoo! omg! for this real poser.


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