How many Molly Goddards are there?

Molly Goddard, a fashion designer, went to the same school as others with the same name. They are all alumni of Central Saint Martins:

alumni-sty

It’s either an amazing coincidence or an alternative fact perpetrated by Yahoo! Style.  Or maybe it’s just an example of the writer’s and her editor’s ignorance. Perhaps they don’t know that alumni is a plural; its singular, when referring to a female is alumna. If they cared about such things, but were not inclined to use a dictionary, they could have used the gender-neutral alum or graduate.

I’m supposin’ that they don’t care, just as they don’t care that a dollar sign and the word dollars is a tad redundant. Or that placed should be place. Not only did they get the verb wrong, but they also forgot the other half of the correlative conjunction not only…but also in a sentence that resembles the word salad that could have been uttered by the current occupier of the Oval Office.

Neither writer nor editor

Over at Yahoo! Style, neither the writer nor the editor has spotted this grammatical goof:

neither-have-released-sty

When two words are joined by neither…nor, the verb must agree with the word closer to it, which in this case is the singular Hadid, and the verb should be has released.

Judd Apatow is singular

Neither the Yahoo! Movies editors nor the writer has any idea what the correct verb is here:

have pushed mov

When a compound subject (like reviews and Judd Apatow) is joined by neither…nor, the verb must agree with the subject closer to it. In this case, it’s Judd Apatow and the verb should be has pushed.

Neither is correct

In this excerpt from Yahoo! Sports, neither or nor are is correct:

neither or are mlb

The correlative conjunction pair is neither…nor, not neither…or. And when neither…nor joins two nouns as the subject of a sentence, the verb (which should be is denying) must agree with the noun closer to it (which is Gordon).

Neither has commented

Neither the Yahoo! Celebrity writer nor editor has commented on this grammatical gaffe:

have commented cel

When two subjects are joined by neither…nor, the verb must agree with the subject closer to it. In this case, the verb must agree with Jungwirth and should be has commented.

Neither writer nor editor saw this

Did anyone over at yahoo.com notice that there’s a messed-up correlative conjunction:

fp neither or

You should have kept it under wraps

The writer for Yahoo! Style should have kept this sad attempt at a common idiom under wraps:

on the under wraps sty

Neither confirming nor denying that she’s responsible for the incorrect correlative conjunction won’t absolve her of responsibility for the mistakes she makes.

Are is wrong; is is right

When a compound subject is joined by the correlative conjunction neither…nor, the verb always agrees with noun closer to it. Except on the Yahoo! Style, where the rules of grammar are often violated:

neither are sty

Neither the writer nor the editor noticed?

Neither the writer nor the editor (if there was one) noticed this mistake on the Yahoo! front page:

fp neither nor

The correlative conjunction neither…nor is used to join just two items, and never more than two — except on yahoo.com where standard rules of grammar do not apply.

This is either horrible or laughable

Here’s one of the mistakes you’ll find on yahoo.com that makes you want to laugh or cry:

fp either is

It’s so sad to think that there are adults out there, making a living as professional writers, who have not mastered the use of the correlative conjunction either…or.

This is not rocket surgery, people. The conjunction must join parallel elements, which means they must be the same parts of speech. To check if you’ve got parallel elements, read the sentence up to the or (omitting the either).

The defense secretary’s departure is a strategic play by the White House

Then read the sentence from the start of the sentence up to either and tack on the words after the or:

The defense secretary’s departure is he is being used as a scapegoat.

Sounds stupid, no? That’s because the either…or is joining a noun phrase (a strategic play by the White House) and a complete clause (he is being used as a scapegoat). Here’s one way to rewrite that sentence so that the conjunction joins two independent clauses:

Either the defense secretary’s departure is a strategic play by the White House, or he is being used as a scapegoat.

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