I just can’t go on

I tried reading an article on Yahoo! Style, but I just can’t force myself to read beyond the first paragraph. It is so stunningly awful in its grammatical mistakes and ignorance of basic English, that I gave up. Here’s what I found with just a cursory examination of the ‘graph; I’m sure I missed a few things that merit attention:

My experience tells me that this writer is not a native English-speaker. Her mistakes are ones that are common with people who did not grow up speaking and writing English. But there’s no excuse for not providing her with a competent editor, if only to save her from embarrassments like these:

  • 18 years old should be 18-year-old. He is 18 years old, but he is an 18-year-old model.
  • instagram follower should be Instagram followers.
  • on first name term seems to be a bastardization of on a first name basis.
  • to loose his cherries for the first time is not just a vulgar expression, it’s kind of a stupid metaphor. First, she means lose, not loose. And one can only lose one’s cherry (which is singular) once. So I’m really confused as to what this is purported to mean. Maybe it just means the writer is both careless and ignorant.
  • There’s a missing the in at Coachella music festival.
  • will also be is redundant when one ends a sentence with too.
  • been to famous music festival needs a the.

I’m sure I missed something, and I didn’t even touch on the run-on sentences. Please, Yahoo!, get this gal an editor!

Have you pleaded guilty yet?

Has the Yahoo! Sports writer responsible for this gaffe pleaded guilty in criminal court, because this attempt at spelling the past tense of plead is an assault on the English language?

plead guilty

The writer should be thrown in the grammar slammer for impersonating a professional. Anyone who has gone through the third grade in an English-speaking knows that the past tense is pleaded or pled.

Perhaps the writer has confused this word with the word read (pronounced reed); its past tense is also spelled read, but pronounced red. And then the writer passed the confusion on to the reader.

Your gig might be up

That writing gig might come to an end for the person who that this made was a common English expression:

news gig

The idiom is “the jig is/was up.” It means that the game or trick is over, done, kaput. The “gig was up” means that the job is over, done, kaput.

I don’t really think the writer’s gig is in jeopardy. This appeared in Yahoo! News‘ “The Sideshow,” where writers are not know for their journalistic integrity or mastery of English. Her job is safe there.


Turn in your metaphor license

Some writers should not be allowed to use figures of speech. Any writer who would describe a man as someone who would “twist your ventricles into a vice” should probably not even be allowed to use a keyboard. But, here she is again, writing for Yahoo! Shine and making an outrageous claim:

Jon Hamm is not a contemporary of Humphrey Bogart; he was born decades after Mr. Bogart’s death.  Mr. Hamm might be considered — by a long stretch of the imagination — to be a contemporary Bogart, but not his contemporary.

So, that was bad. But it’s when the writer tries to exercise her word-a-day vocabulary — when she uses large words without regard to their meaning — that she construct metaphors of monumental meaninglessness:

When did her tongue take the reigns?

This would have been hilarious even if the writer had used the correct homophone, reins:

I just can’t wrap my tongue around that. Thanks for the laugh, Yahoo! Shine.

One hand = One percent of human body

Mistaking a 79-year-old woman for a guy is laughable. But mixing metaphors can be downright hilarious. One little paragraph on Yahoo! Shine manages to do both:

911 shine life 1

The “guy” in question was actually Stella Liebeck, who was severely burned by McDonalds coffee. My favorite part of this paragraph is the complete screw-up of the expression “on one hand… on the other hand.” I’m no mathematical genius, but doesn’t the statement “but the other 99% of me” mean that the remaining 1% of the writer is her hand?

Award-winning writers would know better

I’m thinking that Academy Award-winning writers know how to punctuate. Or if they don’t, they know a good editor who does. Unlike the writer of this paragraph from Yahoo! Shine:


Writers and editors probably know not to use a comma to separate the word film from its actual title. And heaven forfend, they would never misplace a modifier so laughingly—implying that Nicole Kidman was based on a best-selling novel.  And a writer writing about a transsexual would know how to spell the word. I would think.

A missing the here is a relatively minor error, but an error nonetheless:


In an article about a sex-change operation, there’s a name change and a missing hyphen:


How can you spell a name correctly once, and then not again? But my favorite creative use of language involves a little mixed metaphor:


Just what does buzz smell like? Honey perhaps?

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