Woe is me!

Woe is me! I made the mistake of reading this headline on Yahoo! Style:

woes me 1

I couldn’t figure out if Mr. Blacc had won the writer over or bowled her over. Does it matter? This writer was obviously suffering from the encounter and it spills over into her writing.

This gal loves her some commas, which she sprinkles liberating throughout the piece along with an extraneous word or two. But the fun for us is trying to figure out how a black suit comes with a white jacket:

woes me 2

Let’s say fare-thee-well to “has fared him well,” because that makes no sense. This writer is obviously a tad vocabulary-challenged. Perhaps she meant “has served him well.” A dictionary might just serve her well.

woes me 3

Ancient artifacts date all the way back to today

I’m appalled. It apparently took an entire team of  “Yahoo Style Editors” to come up with one of the most ridiculously ignorant statements I’ve read this week. Let’s skip over the arbitrary and totally incorrect comma, the mismatch of a subject and verb (which should be ranges), and focus on the B.C/A.D times:

bc ad style

It took the entire brain trust of editors to declare that ancient artifacts date back to “B.C/A.D times.” WTF? Are they really that ignorant? Do they not know that AD means all the time from the birth of Christ to the present day and beyond? (It seems like overkill to mention that they think that one period is enough for an abbreviation of two words.)

After that disaster, I suggest readers imagine a website with educated adults at the keyboards. And that ain’t Yahoo! Style.

Plastic cutting Matt

Poor Matt! When I read this on Yahoo! Makers I thought the writer was using plastic to cut Matt:

matt diy 1

It makes no sense, but that’s immaterial to Yahoo!. And in case you thought that was a typo, the writer thoughtfully provides another misspelling of what I now believe should be mat:

matt diy 2

The inability to spell a simple word isn’t the writer’s only issue. There’s the misspelled trademark Post-it and a mysterious comma. But my favorite has to be who’s (which is short for who is or who has) instead of whose and the image of a name attached to a forehead:

whos name matt diy

Whose name is attached to their forehead? Must be Matt’s!

For lack of a semicolon

Can you tell how many people were leaving LAX from this statement on yahoo.com?

fp olivier

There was Olivier Martinez. There was his wife. There was Halle Berry. And then there were some kids. Or maybe not.

Unless you know that Mr. Martinez’s wife is Halle Berry, it’s hard to tell how many adults were at LAX. Enter the semicolon!

The semicolon has fallen out of favor over the last few decades, but it has it uses. And this is one of them. Using a semicolon, you can distinguish an appositive from an item in a list. Like this:

The actor; his wife, Halle Berry; and their kids

Wondering how you keep your job

This is what I’m wondering: How the heck did this writer get a job with Yahoo! Style? Clearly this guy has a limited grasp of English:

wondering for more

It’s not the use of a comma instead of an em-dash or a semicolon, which is what should be used to join two independent clauses. It’s the whole “wondering for more” that has me wondering if English is his first language. And makes me wonder why there’s no editor to clean up his dribblings before they’re posted.

Not a geography expert?

Not the winner of the National Geographic Bee, but still think you got what it takes to write about places around the world? No worries! You can write for the Yahoo! front page, where knowledge of geography (or just about any subject) is not required:

fp cabo

Even if you think that there’s a town named Cabo in a Mexican state called San Lucas, you could work at yahoo.com. Imagine how far you’d get if you actually know that the city is Cabo San Lucas.

Keep the kids away from the keyboard

This is what happens when you let the kiddies take over the keyboard and write for a site like Yahoo! Style: You get amateurish writing, juvenile vocabulary, and sloppy errors. I don’t know if the writer is a teen or a tween, just that she writes like one.

A professional writer covering New York Fashion Week should know how many capital letters to use. But that’s not all; the errors are nonstop (which is one word, not two). She seems like a writer I typically wouldn’t chat with:

adderall style 1

It’s Groundhog Day, not this thing the writer made up:

adderall style 2

If you’re writing about Adderall, don’t you think you should know when to hit the Shift key? It’s common to refer to a certain period as the mid-90s and it’s more common to include all words, even the in “as the wonder drug”:

adderall style 3

Is this the kind of writing they’re featuring on Yahoo! now? Does the writer have such a paucity of words that she can’t come up with a better way to express this?

adderall style 4

Clearly she has no idea what a proper noun is, like Instagram and Tumblr:

adderall style 5

(Since Yahoo! also owns Tumblr, she might want to learn how to spell it.)

The writing is so bad that I’m practically dozing off.  But I perk up when I see a quote this bad. (It should be “said, ‘You’re welcome.’) And again with the undercapitalized Adderall!

adderall style 6

I don’t know how this went off the rails so badly:

adderall style 7

There’s at least one way to correct that: “At every dinner, cocktail party, and even shows.”

Lordie, I guess we can’t expect kids these days to know about the use of a hyphen in a compound adjective like “four-hour” or to know how to proofread so that no words are missing:

adderall style 8

This wouldn’t be complete without one more lowercased Adderall:

adderall style 9

So, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Not if the writer’s a 10-year-old.

One fascinating fact about Jr.

There was a time when putting a comma between a last name and an abbreviation like Jr. and Sr. was mandatory. But that’s no longer the standard, except on the Yahoo! front page where it sometimes appears in names:

fp jr comma

Since 1993 The Chicago Manual of Style  recommends that no comma be used in names like Martin Luther King Jr. It also notes that  if you use the comma before Jr. or Sr.,  the comma sets off these abbreviations, so an additional comma is needed after the abbreviation.

This makes me feel old

Maybe it’s because I remember my first Walkman. Maybe it’s because I come from a generation that values the ability to communicate effectively and accurately in writing. Whatever the reason, reading this on Yahoo! Shine just made be feel old:

walkmans shine

I suspect that the writer is from a different, younger generation from mine. That may explain why she doesn’t know that Walkman is a trademark and not a generic term. It might explain the random comma, because rules of punctuation seem to elude the young’ums. But I’d expect her to know how to spell Gangnam and for her to be able to identify the first names of Benny and Rafi Fine. Or is that asking too much?

I wish I could call it a compliment

Yahoo! News is the armpit of online media. That’s not a compliment. It’s just a reaction I had to this made-up word that appears in a very large headline on the site:

nj 1

Residents of New Jersey are New Jerseyans or New Jerseyites.

So, OK, the writer made up a word. Is that worse than making up rules for the use of the comma, and randomly sprinkling that punctuation in a sentence?

nj 2

Probably not. It’s not worse than this:

nj 3

If you’re trying to be sarcastic, you have to be scrupulous in your use of language; otherwise, readers will think your sarcasm is just one more careless or ignorant mistake. This attempt at sarcasm fails because the writer doesn’t know the difference between it’s (for “it is” or “it has”) and the possessive its. If the writer had mentioned that the state is famous for its even-keeled, milquetoast residents, then it might have been seen as an attempt at humor.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 893 other followers

%d bloggers like this: