Won followed by another

Here’s one major gaffe from Yahoo! Style, followed by a complete headscratcher:

won sty

Why do Yahoo! writers and editors have so much trouble with forming the possessive of a plural noun? It’s simple: coworkers is the plural; coworkers‘ is the possessive.

It takes a team

It took a team Yahoo! Style staffers to come up with this ridiculously wrong possessive of the plural noun models:

modelss sty

Apparently there was some disagreement in this brain trust as to where the apostrophe goes — before or after the S. So that put it before and after an S. (Just in case someone on the Style staff is reading this, here’s the scoop: the possessive of models is models’.)

It’s not more than one law

Some words have simple plurals: Just add an S. But when two or more words combine to form a single entity, how do you form the plural? If you’re a writer for Yahoo! Style, the answer is “poorly.”

sister-in-laws sty 2

The plural of sister-in-law is sisters-in-law. Other plurals where the S doesn’t go on the end: courts-martial, attorneys general, passersby, and editors-in-chief.

Would you call it a photographers?

No, you wouldn’t refer to “a photographers,” would you? That makes as much sense as writing about “a paparazzi,” since paparazzi is the plural of paparazzo. But that’s what the writer for Yahoo! Style did:

a pap sty

It would still be wrong

Even if the writer for Yahoo! Celebrity had managed to come up with the correct possessive of the plural Cosbys (it’s Cosbys’) this would still be wrong:

cosbyss cel

Why? Because the characters in question aren’t the Cosbys. They’re the Huxtables!

SEALs the deal

Nice try. But wrong. The plural of SEAL (a member of the U.S. Navy’s special forces) is SEALs. Don’t believe what you read on the Yahoo! front page:

fp seals cap

Confused about plural possessives?

Do you ever get confused about forming the possessive of a plural noun? Where does that apostrophe go? Before or after the S? If you find yourself in a quandary over possessives, just do what the writer for Yahoo! Celebrity did: Put in an extra S so that you can place that apostrophe before and after an S:

sisterss apos cel

Writers’ mistakes like this happen all the time on Yahoo!.

Hang on!

Hang on! I gotta check something on Yahoo! Style:

hanger ons sty

Did I really read that? Does the writer really think that is the correct plural of hanger-on (notice the hyphen?) The plural is hangers-on, and it’s similar to plural of other hyphenated nouns: mothers-in-law, editors-in-chief, runners-up, and presidents-elect.

This editor needs an editor

The editor who wrote this for Yahoo! Style could use an editor herself:

editor in chiefs sty

The plural of editor-in-chief is editors-in-chief.

It’s not the plural

Does the writer for Yahoo! Style think that alumnus is the plural of alumnu, or is she just grammatically challenged?

alumnus sty

Alumnus refers to one male graduate, although some writers use it to refer to a graduate regardless of gender. Its plural is alumni, which refers to male graduates or a group of male and female graduates. (A female grad is an alumna; its plural is alumnae.)

If all that is too much for this writer, she should have used alums, graduates, or grads.


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