Look! Lookadoo boo-boos

It’s one boo-boo after another, courtesy of the writing genius at Yahoo! Shine:

lookadoo shine

I guess Yahoo! doesn’t include a spell-checker with the software that its writers use. Pity, because they could really benefit from some help. (A spell-checker would have caught the misspelled courtesy and the funky capitalization in HIgh.) Of course, a spell-checker couldn’t tell them how to spell Justin Lookadoo’s name. It wouldn’t tell the writer that the correlative conjunction both…and should be used to join parallel items: “both by what he said and by what…” or “by both what he said and what…”

Requiring writers to use a spell-checker wouldn’t solve all the problems in this one paragraph, but it would have solved a few. And requiring writers verify the spelling of names would have eliminated three misspellings. It’s a start.

So few words, so many mistakes

Rarely do you see a feat like this — even on Yahoo!. With just a word or two, the writer for Yahoo! Sports‘ “Prep Rally” manages to make at least three mistakes:

both for he sports pr

Let us consider the use of the word both, which is half of the correlative conjunction pair both…and. It can only be used to join two items — not three. Then consider the use of the pronoun he, which should be him, the objective case of the pronoun. And finally, consider the location of the word for: It belongs before the word both, except that both doesn’t belong in that sentence at all. Now I’m really confused.

Still both wrong and awkward

Recently the Yahoo! front page featured an ugly grammatical mistake, with the correlative conjunction both…and joining to unequal, nonparallel elements:


Of course Terribly Write took them to task (with almost no snark), even providing three alternatives to turn the embarrassment into a grammatically correct sentence.

Knowing that the editors on yahoo.com use Terribly Write as their de facto editor (because I think Yahoo! has no competent editors), I wasn’t surprised when they made a stab at correcting the error:

fp both the top

Faced with three correct alternatives, what did the editors at yahoo.com choose? None of them. Instead, they rewrote the grammatically incorrect sentence, producing a different grammatically incorrect sentence. Brilliant.

This is both wrong and awkward

It doesn’t take a grammatical wiz kid to know that this sentence on the Yahoo! front page is both wrong and awkward:

It illustrates a common error, though in a way that is so egregious we all can spot it, even if we can’t quite describe it. The problem is the correlative conjunction.

A correlative conjunction is a pair of words that joins words, phrases, and clauses that are usually parallel, that is, they’re similar in length and grammatical form. That means that it joins two nouns or two phrases or two verbs. That sort of thing. One of the most common correlative conjunctions is both…and, and that’s what the writer used. And got wrong.

One way to correct the grammatical goof — and shorten the sentence (always a good thing) — is to eliminate the word both:

… edges out New York as the top Christmas and New Year’s locale

If writer really, really wanted to include the word both (perhaps to emphasize there are two holidays), then this would be the correct form:

… edges out New York as both the top Christmas and the top New Year’s locale

It’s correct, but wordy and repetitive. Yet another alternative is shorter, more direct, and joins the two holidays with the correlative conjunction:

… edges out New York as the top locale for both Christmas and New Year’s

After the breakup

After breaking up breakup, the writer misplaces an apostrophe. The ’70s were a decade; 70’s is something that belongs to 70. But, wait! That’s not all! You can learn more about John and Yoko:

John and Yoko were known for being attached at the hip. And they were known for being their casual street style. And this Yahoo! Shine writer is known for being language-impaired.

Both a mistake and an embarrassment

This is both a mistake and an embarrassment on the Yahoo! front page:

The correlative conjunction both…and joins parallel,  grammatically similar elements. So, the correct construction is “both a solid and a liquid.”


It was wrong even in the Dark Ages

It looks like the keyboard got away from the editor on Yahoo! Shine and just went crazy with the meningitis:

I wonder if the nervous tick is one that delivers Lyme disease. I thought that since the Dark Ages everyone knew that the nervous twitch is a tic.

Don’t we all know what we’re planning to do? I think it would be better to know if you should plan to spend the entire day over a toilet. I don’t know if there is one warning or multiple warnings, but I know this ain’t right:

I don’t mean to talk down to you, but have you noticed that this writer can’t figure out if it’s Talkdown or TalkDown? Are you annoyed by the fact that she doesn’t know that the correlative conjunction both…and must join two like objects; so, if you write the iPad, you should also write the iPhone:

Now your concerns are that this writer gets paid to write crap, and you’re ticked off:

I am, too.

Writing gaffes elicit laughs

Ha! It’s just too, too funny that there is a so-called senior editor working for Yahoo! Shine who gets paid to write this:

Mistakes like that can elicit guffaws, eye-rolls, or deep depression. I prefer to see the humor in a huge company like Yahoo! throwing money at a writer who probably hasn’t benefited from a high school education. 

There’s nothing wrong about this, unless you feel that a dollar sign and the word dollars is a tad redundant. Personally, I think it’s hilarious:

I don’t think women are allowed to keep their kid’s stuff — that would piss off a lot of kids. Perhaps they should just keep their kid stuff. Either way, it’s pretty funny:

Little League is a proper noun, but seeing it in lowercase gives me the giggles:

Again with the dollar sign and dollars! Too funny! Really. And if you’re referring to the auction house, it should be Christie’s:

I have no clue as to how you take a noun like jailbait and create a meaningful verb. Really, you don’t. It makes no sense. And neither does the hyphen in con artists. And do men pack a teddy bear or multiple teddy bears? The answer is locked inside the head of this genius comedic writer:

This is just a missing hyphen, but I think the minimalist punctuation is funny:

A typo? Hilarious. A misplaced both is amusing for both girls and boys:

OK, so how many mistakes can a writer make in three words? (It’s kinda like a riddle. And I love riddles.) There’s the unnecessary commas, the missing space, and worst still, the undercapitalized John DeVore. I think that’s four!

In this side-splitting article, it’s only fitting that the writer include a totally incomprehensible (but hilarious!) statement comparing a man with a prized possession or maybe prized possessions. Or something else.

Imagining what it’s like to be a real writer

Do you ever imagine what it’s like to be a professional writer? One who actually collects wads of cash for writing? If you want to get a gig at Yahoo! Shine, you really, really should proofread your writing:

If you think this is correct, then ask a real editor to weigh in:

Maybe this is a typo, or it may be that you think it is okie-dokie:

You could be a fine writer, but it is more likely both your spelling and your grammar are wobbly. And you really don’t know that the correlative conjunction both…and needs to join like items:

Can you size up the problems here? (Hint: There’s two unnecessary and incorrect hyphens and two missing hyphens.)

Do you have trouble proofreading. Yes? Do you spend time imagining what it would be like to write like a real professional?

Monstrous missteps

In a photo gallery about the men behind the monsters and masks, Yahoo! Movies makes a few horrifying mistakes in the captions, like this scary mess:

jason movies

That’s one sentence I can’t correct since I have no idea what the writer intended to say. On the other hand, the writer’s meaning is clear here, even though the word movies is missing:

mane movies

Also missing? The word his in the first sentence:

chaney movies

In the same caption, the space between get and up is wrong (as a noun, getup is one word) and the the in front of effort has gone missing.

What to make of this? Is this clunker a result of a misplaced correlative conjunction (both….and) or some other misstep?

both and movies

 That’s just one in a string of errors, including the missing word and incorrect wield here:

wield movies

That’s a pretty scary photo gallery, but scariest of all? That an Internet giant like Yahoo! lets this stuff get published.

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