For some writers, it’s a right of passage

It’s almost a rite of passage on Yahoo! Makers: Every writer for that site must make at least one homophonic mistake to be accepted into the world of professional hacks:

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This is just not right

Yahoo! Makers’ writers display some really creative ideas — especially when it comes to the English language. I’ve references to a “right of passage,” but have never seen one that had the additional creativity of hyphens:

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So wrong — and yet so innovative! Is the ability to misspell a common idiom in multiple ways a rite of passage for Yahoo! writers?

That right is wrong

There ought to be a rite of passage that a person has to go through in order to write for a site with millions of readers like Yahoo! Style.

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Unfortunately, just about anyone with a third-grade education seems qualified for that job. A fourth grader would know that right isn’t right and that rite is.

A news source you can trust?

How many typos, misspellings, and wrong word choices does it take before you question the credibility of a news article? If the article is written by a Yahoo! News staffer, I start with an attitude of skepticism, which is buttressed by the errors that are sure to be there.

I can count on there being at least one homophonic error. In this article, the writer claims an ice sculpture was discretely wheeled into a hotel suite:

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Unless that sculpture was delivered in bits of ice cubes, it was brought in discreetly, so as not to attract attention.

A typo in a photo caption isn’t the worst thing you’ll find in the article:

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But a second homophonic error just might be:

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Perhaps it’s a rite of passage at Yahoo! News: You can’t get a byline until you’ve made at least three boneheaded mistakes in a single article.

Here’s a makeshift spelling of makeshift:

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There’s nothing wrong with this paragraph except for the arbitrarily capitalized former and the spelling of Dinesh D’Souza and Cathy McMorris Rodgers:

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Two of those mistakes would get you sent to the woodshed in a legitimate news organization. But wait! There’s more! Here, the writer claims there was a big band consisting of 16 pieces:

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and yet in the photo caption, he’s added a musician:

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Perhaps the writer was enjoying the contents of the kegerator when he wrote this:

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and then forgot that if you use a dollar sign, you shouldn’t also use the word bucks (because that would be “20 dollars bucks”):

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So, I’m not trustin’ too much (if anything) I read from this author. I guess for some, getting an article published is all that matters:

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How to tell if you need a vacation

Did you skip your summer vacation and now regret it? Do you think you need a break from your workaday world? You might just need a vacation if you’re a professional writer and think that “taking to the open shores” sounds appealing:

You might need a vacation if you think a TV show like “Iron Chef” is OK without quotation marks, and if you think there really is a show called “Chef V City’s.” (There isn’t, but there is one called “Chefs vs. City.”) You might need a break if you think the capitalized the is correct. If “all station stops” means something to you, you might have a problem that even a vacation can’t help.

If “those names register to you” registers with you, you could use a cruise — preferably one that includes English lessons:

You might need a break if you think this apostrophe is right:

If the whole “sitting on a boat hot tub” thing sounds right to you, consider packing your bags right now.

If you don’t know it’s the History channel (with a capital letter), head over to Travelocity and make some reservations:

Anything here look wrong to you?

No? Then I’m mortified by the absence of your ability to grasp simple English phrases and recognize incorrect spelling. After your vacay, try a class in grammar; it should be a rite of passage for any writer. Find one that includes a lesson in ending a sentence with some sort of punctuation.

You might need more than a week away if you make these mistakes: The missing hyphen in tell-all, the missing comma before then, the missing quotation marks around missed opportunity, the lowercase pronoun I, the misspelled mispelled, and the unnecessary apostrophe. They all indicate a seriously stressed-out mind (or an extremely uncaring, careless, and ignorant writer):

Are you up for one last test? Did you realize that there needs to be a comma before Richard and that haven’t is a contraction requiring an apostrophe?

Ready for that vacation? All I ask is that you take this writer from Yahoo! Shine with you.

Can’t read? Can’t write? I’ve got the job for you!

If you can read this, then you’re overqualified for a job at Yahoo! Shine. Perhaps you know someone who is reading- and writing-impaired who needs a job.

If they don’t know if Internet is a proper noun and how many hyphens belong in 83-year-old, this might be the perfect situation, because this article’s writer doesn’t know either:

Knowledge of grammar is optional. The ability to match a subject and verb, and to distinguish between over and more than aren’t necessary:

The writer demonstrates that typing ability isn’t a requirement, either. And if you think this is right, you’re hired!

Wa-wa-wa wait! There’s more evidence that this writer has just the right qualifications. Did she really, really write this?

“She sails from restaurants”??? This is what the quote (which the writer included in the article) actually said: 

The author can’t write — and can’t read. I think that makes her perfect for Yahoo!.

The right way to write rite

I’m actually feeling a little embarrassed for the writer of this headline on Yahoo! Shine:


In case you thought this was a momentary lapse, here it is again in the actual blog entry:


It’s not the first time a writer has gotten this common expression wrong. Mastering the correct expression should be a rite of passage for anyone entering the writing or editing profession.

When right is wrong

Graduating from high school is a normal rite of passage for most teens. Unfortunately, a diploma doesn’t indicate if the recipient can distinguish right from rite.  Yahoo! Shine gives us the wrong one:

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