It could’ve easily been correct

With a little help from a competent editor, this could’ve easily been correct. But it’s on Yahoo! Style, a site that’s in its own grammatically incorrect world:

could've easy sty

On the off chance you’re a writer…

On the off chance that the writer for Yahoo! Style would like to improve her writing, I suggest she study some common English idioms (like on the off chance) as well as the use of the hyphen to form compound adjectives (like two-piece):

in the off chance style

Coat and boots star as a Columbia professor

I don’t know how they do it! Those creative Hollywood types manage to get a beige coat and knee-high boots to play a Columbia professor:

playing prof style

If I were the cynical type, I might think that sentence is a tad misleading. And full of errors. Fact is, Julianne Moore plays the professor; the coat and boots don’t even have a speaking part in the movie. The boots are actually knee-high and the coat and boots give Julianne her academic look.

To make that sentence somewhat intelligible, you have to get rid of the misplaced modifier (that’s the phrase at the beginning of the sentence) by moving the word it modifies:

Playing a Columbia professor who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, Julianne gets her academic look from the beige coat and knee-high boots.

Look closely at this

You don’t have to read closely to spot this grammatical gaffe on the Yahoo! front page:

fp to read close

Polish this off

How many goofs can you find in this excerpt of an article on Yahoo! DIY?

marbleized diy

Did you notice that “inspired by … paper” modifies “nail polish and water”? Yeah, that was awkward. I’m pretty sure the paper was the inspiration for the project and not for the polish. And then did you see that the writer thinks that is can be an appropriate verb for the plural subject “nail polish and water”? That was ugly.

There’s the misspelled lukewarm (it’s one word, not two), and the instruction to fill the tub halfway. But in the first numbered instruction, she tells us to fill it 3/4 full. Someone is a little confused and that would be the writer. And the reader.

I read this so you don’t have to

I read Yahoo! Style so you don’t have to. And I report on just the worst of the many gaffes committed by Yahoo!’s writers. And these excerpts from a single article are some of the worst.

It starts with the misspelled America Ferrera and goes on to a couple of repeated words. The movie title gets no special treatment (which is usually italics or quotation marks at Yahoo!, there being no company standard). There’s an expression the writer misuses; it tripped her up. (Apparently she didn’t know it’s not the same as simply tripping.) What kind of nut was involved in this story? Beats me. It’s not OK not to capitalize OK; and it’s not OK to capitalize goddess:

trip style 1

I thought I was reading a story about Kim Kardashian, who was nearly trampled in a crowd. But (or nut?) it was a security guard who was nearly the victim. (The other victim is the reader of this piece, where the misplaced modifier produces unlikely results.) You’d think that a professional writing about style and fashion would know how to spell Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s name, but you would be wrong:

trip style 2

During the fashion show, the front row was set to a soundtrack. I guess that’s better than being set on fire, but not as good as a show set to a soundtrack. Anyhoo, it hardly matters since the music included a song that the writer claims is “Stop Pressuring Me.” There is no song by that name. However there is a tune with the lyric “stop pressuring me” and it’s called “Scream.” Then there’s a teensy word missing, but that’s really not important in light of the other embarrassments:

trip style 3

I read this stuff so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Unfortunately, it’s not rarely seen

On the Yahoo! front page, the hyphen is overused, as it is in this recently published teaser:

fp recently-deceased 2

Perhaps if the writers were closely watched they wouldn’t throw a hyphen in after an adverb ending in -LY:

fp closely-watched 2

This mistake isn’t rarely seen; it occurs quite often on yahoo.com:

fp rarely-seen 2

Here’s what these writers don’t understand: An adverb ending in -LY is a signal to the reader that it modifies the word that follows it. There’s no need to join those two words with a hyphen.

It’s a zoo out there

This article on Yahoo! Travel may be about the best zoos in the United States, but it represents some of the worst travel writing on the Internet. It’s shocking the number of mistakes made by someone who is a “managing editor” and an experienced travel writer.

This is how bad it can get:

zoo 1

It’s not an orange-colored, artificially flavored breakfast drink. It’s an orangutan. And the zoo calls it the Stingray Beach, with a capital B.

How did she screw this up so badly? The zoo is the Saint Louis Zoo and it’s in St. Louis, Missouri. Don’t go on a Saturday or Sunday expecting to see a concert. Although the writer claims concerts occur every weekend, they really occur only on Fridays and only between May 23 and August 29. Then there’s the case of the subject (admission) and its verb (which the writer thinks should be are):

zoo 2

The problem is, if she used the correct verb (is), then she’s got a really awkward sentence. That’s because she misplaced both. It belongs before “the zoo and the concert”: … admission to both the zoo and the concert is free.

I was expecting that if I went to this zoo, I’d be able to do more than just see the wolf cubs. Maybe I could bottle-feed them. Or dress them in coats and ties.

zoo 3

Again, the writer misplaced a modifier; this time it’s just. It should be: You won’t see just three cuddly wolf cubs; you’ll also see, etc., etc. etc.

How does a travel writer writing about zoos get another zoo’s name wrong? It’s Riverbanks Zoo and Garden (it’s not Zoos and it’s not Botanical):

zoo 4

OK, so maybe someone will explain to me how this project will create a new grizzly bear:

zoo 5

Would you trust the information in this article?

Laying it out in black and white

Let’s lay this out in black and white for the Yahoo! Celebrity writer: If you don’t know that fiancé is an engaged man (and fiancée is an engaged woman), perhaps you should refer to the man as betrothed. Or maybe boyfriend:

simpson omg 1

If you’re using it as an adjective, then black-and-white gets two hyphens. (As a noun, it doesn’t need those hyphens.)

So, Jessica Simpson posted a black-and-white photo on Instagram. Is it any surprise that it looked like she was wearing a black and white dress? (I really don’t know how the writer could tell what color the dress was.) Repeating a word isn’t the worst mistake a writer can make, but claiming she “was laid out” makes it sound like the poor woman was prepared for a funeral, not a wedding:

simpson omg 2

Finally, the writer alleges that her hand was “placed seductively over her eyebrow.” Unless her eyebrow is somewhere on the top of her head, I think the writer made a misstatement:

simpson omg 3

What you encounter on Yahoo

Here are two things you might encounter on yahoo.com: an apparent typo and an incorrect punctuation mark:

fp enounter

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