It not provides a lesson

This is a sentence from the home page of Yahoo! Makers. It not only provides a lesson in the need for proofreading, but also demonstrates how errors can make you look foolish:

it not diy hp

There are so many ways this went wrong. Did the writer mean “It not only provides”? If so, then she should have completed the correlative conjunction with but also, not and also. Or did the writer mean “It provides”? Then the not is extraneous and the and also is redundant.

Step 1: Stop reading

Here’s the first step involved in tying a bow tie. After reading this on Yahoo! Style, would you bother to read Step 2?

step 1 sty

The writer omitted one word and then used then instead of than. That’s more mistakes than I like in a single sentence.

Let’s face it

Let’s face it: No one at Yahoo! Makers proofread this:

you you diy

If they had, they would have noticed a repeated word. And if they were also familiar with English, they might have noticed the missing of in what should be a couple of really good pens.

Put down the eggnog

The editors at must have been hitting the bourbon-laced eggnog pretty hard this weekend. That’s about the only explanation I have for this bit of nonsense disguised as a sentence:

fp who falls

What the heck does that mean? Did the editor mean: Roethlisberger is just one of a few star signal-callers who fall short of their normal standards? That would mean the writer left out at least one word and couldn’t match a verb to its subject and a pronoun to its antecedent. Given’s standards, that’s entirely possible.

It’s also possible the editor meant: Roethlisberger is just one star signal-caller who falls short of his normal standards. That would mean the writer included a few totally extraneous words and used a plural when a singular signal-caller would be correct.

I’m so confused. But not as confused as those editors at Yahoo!. I think I’ll lay off the eggnog for a while.

Write-it-yourself headline

Here’s an interesting new twist on the do-it-yourself trend: Write-it-yourself headlines! Just fill in the missing word in this headline from

fp is so to make

Northwestern is what?

Northwestern is. Yes indeedie, Northwestern is. What exactly is Northwestern? Only the writer for knows:

fp northwestern is

Dumbest Statement of the Day

Today’s dumbest statement comes in a sentence on Yahoo! Makers that’s packed with problems:

maze diy

There’s a word missing between each and with — I’m guessin’ it’s year. There’s the freaky use of the pronoun their, which has no antecedent, but which probably refers to farm. Or else it refers to the owners of the farm, which aren’t mentioned anywhere near that pronoun.

But the worst offense? The claim that the farm has been around for nearly 20 years, as if that’s a monumental accomplishment. In fact, the farm has been in the same family for ten generations, or nearly 300 years. Now that’s an accomplishment.

Jamming that many mistakes in a single sentence is accomplishment, too. Just not one to be proud of.

Do you mean residents?

Even if the writer for hadn’t omitted a vital word, this would still be awkward and amateurish:

fp live the

Do you think the writer is an elementary school student who’s unfamiliar with the word resident?

Dumbest Statement of the Day

Today’s Dumbest Statement of the Day is made even dumber, given the fact that it appears on Yahoo! Politics, where writers should know something about politics:

retiring sen pol

Why would anyone campaign for a retiring senator? Because the writer left out some vital words: Ms. Ernst campaigned for Sen. Harkin’s seat. His seat. Not him.

A couple errors

It’s not a couple of errors on the Yahoo! front page; it’s one error and it involves a missing word:

fp couple people

As the American Heritage Dictionary notes:

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.


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