I admit it: Sometimes I’m just really nitpicky. I read a sentence like this one on Yahoo! Makers and say (sometimes out loud): What the heck does the writer mean?

picnic 1

Is she saying that sitting down at a dinner table (as opposed to preparing that dinner) requires no thought, but a “picnic situation” (which I presume is different from a picnic) requires thought and planning? I don’t get the comparison. I also don’t get why logisics and differnt passed through the spell-checker unchecked. Oh, yeah, I forgot: Yahoo! writers don’t use spell-checkers.   They also don’t believe in proofreading for missing words. But I quibble.

And and I don’t understand how a writer can misspell separately, since separate appears on every list of the 100 most commonly misspelled words. Shouldn’t a professional writer know that?

picnic seperately

Is it nitpicky to expect that a writer would know that picnicing, if it were a real word, would be pronounced pick-nice-ing?

picnic ing

In order to maintain the hard C sound at the end of picnic, the writer should have added a K: picnicking. But I pick nits.

It’s never too late proofread

Proving that it may be too late for some people to learn to proofread, the home page of Yahoo! Makers features a faulty headline:

to late learn diy hp

Better to omit a wrong word

You might think that omitting a word (or two or three) is a horrible mistake, but if you read Yahoo! Style, you know there are worse errors — like not omitting a word:

scion sty

The writers (who claim to be Yahoo Style Editors) left out something after who’s also. I have no idea what. But they should have omitted the word scion, since they have no idea what the word means. A scion is the descendant of a prominent or wealthy family. Not a word that has ever been applied to Keith Richards.

Did you change your mind?

Did the writer for Yahoo! Sports decide that naming the team that Tony Gwynn Jr. faced wasn’t important after all? And then did the writer forget to remove a word? Or did the writer forget to include the opposing team’s name? So many questions.

against nearly spo

Mad Libs of the Internet

Maybe it’s the result of a tight deadline. Maybe it’s the product of too many margaritas the night before. Whatever the reason for the errors in this excerpt from Yahoo! Style, readers are bound to notice and judge:

frisbee-like sty

Readers might not notice (or care about) the capitalized Queen. But if you follow the Associated Press style (as well as the style edicts of other authorities), you don’t capitalize queen unless it comes directly before the queen’s name.

Anyone is bound to notice that you’re left to fill in the blank between Middleton looked and in. It’s kinda like Mad Libs. “Gimme an adjective!” I’m going to suggest disheveled. Or maybe sesquipedalian.

Fashionistas wanting to clone the duchess’ style will be disappointed to learn that there is no Locke & Co. selling a Marisbel hat. There is a Marisabel hat offered by Lock & Co., though it retails for considerably more than $1.40. It’s Frisbee-like in its shape. And by Frisbee I mean that plastic disk that gets thrown around as well as the trademark that gets thrown around as if it were a common noun.

You think you know grammar?

It’s Grammer time! Greer Grammer, that is. The writer for Yahoo! Style isn’t too good with English grammar, and is just as bad with Kelsey Grammer’s daughter, Greer:

grammar sty

When the writer isn’t misspelling her name, she’s omitting key words (like dress). She also demonstrates what can happen if you put a space after a left parenthesis. Not good.

Were you sniffing the paint?

Was the writer for Yahoo! Makers sniffing the spray paint when she wrote this?

grafitti diy

How does someone make so many mistakes in so few words? A spell-checker would have caught the mangled graffiti and responsible. A little proofreading would reveal the missing word in what should be for the mural. Was she overcome by the fumes?

At the mercy of the writer

Readers of are at the mercy of the writer and editor. If they screw up, then the reader can be misled.

fp mercy

Reading that headline, you might think that the sky has shown the Oklahoma town mercy and the town has endured. You would be wrong. And the writer is even wronger. The idiom “at the mercy of” means “without protection against.” The town endures in spite of being at the mercy of the sky.

A couple of errors

It’s really one little word that’s missing on the Yahoo! front page, but it’s a couple of mistake:

fp couple segments

Here’s what the American Heritage Dictionary says:

The of in the phrase a couple of is often dropped in speech, but this omission is usually considered a mistake. In 2013, 80 percent of the Usage Panel found the sentence A couple friends came over to watch the game to be unacceptable.

And then I fell asleep

It must be so exhausting to write for Yahoo! Makers that the writer fell asleep before completing this photo caption:

plate setting diy

Clearly the writer wasn’t tired from searching the dictionary for the correct words to use. If she had tried looking up plate setting she would have found it doesn’t exist in the American Heritage Dictionary. The combination of plate and utensils for one person is called a place setting. Let’s hope that next time she’s a little less drained and she takes care to match a verb to a singular subject (like jar).


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