Not a good day for Travel

I don’t often visit Yahoo! Travel. I had the impression that it was a well-written site that wouldn’t provide many examples of errors that would prove instructive to Terribly Write’s readers. Maybe today’s headlines are atypical, but they sure provide some great fodder for a blog post.

It looks like someone ripped off the hyphen in rip-offs, which needs it when it’s used as a noun:

rip offs tra

This isn’t a brand-new error; it’s a brand-new error. The hyphen is often missing from the adjective:

brand news tra

And my favorite is this headline about a restaurant called Warren where you have to carry your own tray and serve yourself macaroni and cheese and greasy fried chicken:

warren buffet tra

The Airbnb home was once the residence of Warren Buffett.

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

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

Do you feel bad about your grammar?

The writer for Yahoo! Shine shouldn’t feel bad about herself for making this mistake — a lot of people (especially if they write for Yahoo!) make the same grammatical goof:

feel badly

As I’ve said before: If you’re trying to pick out a ripe peach by gently squeezing the fruit, but you’re wearing oven mitts, you might feel badly. If your emotional state is sad, depressed, anxious, or unhappy, you might feel bad.

Not exactly picture-perfect headline

The writer for Yahoo! Sports’ “Prep Rally” didn’t pull off a picture-perfect headline for a story about 5-year-olds:

picture perfect

Simpler, perfect-for-reading headlines

Sometimes I feel so lost, confused, and even dumb when reading headlines like this on Yahoo! Shine:

simper shine

Am I supposed to simper — smile in a silly, self-conscious, and coy manner — because it’s perfect for fall sandwiches? Frankly, simpering doesn’t improve my Dagwood one bit. And when I’m not in the mood for a Dagwood Bumstead special, I’ll be looking for recipes for simpler, perfect-for-fall sandwiches.

Staunchest supporter of correct English

I am one of the staunchest supporters of correct English. I hate it when a writer doesn’t know how to form the superlative of an adjective, like this on the Yahoo! front page:

fp most staunch

I’ll give you a profanity-laced tirade

Maybe there’s a broken key on the yahoo.com writer’s keyboard — the key that would turn “profanity laced” into a compound adjective that modifies “tirade”:

fp profanity laced

That key would be a hyphen, which is used to join two words that individually can’t modify a noun.

All-star small-screen goofs

If you’re unsure if two words should be joined with a hyphen, just do what the editors at Yahoo! Movies do: Use a hyphen. And omit a hyphen:

all star big screen

Most funny thing you’ll read today

Is this the most funny thing you’ve ever read on the Yahoo! front page?

fp unhealthy

Or is it the funniest thing you’ve read? If you’re at all familiar with the English language (and Yahoo! editors don’t seem to fall into that category), then you know the superlative of funny is funniest and the superlative of unhealthy is unhealthiest.

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