Were you comma-tose at the time?

Here’s a relatively unimportant fact: In the United States, a comma is placed before closing quotation marks; in the rest of the English-speaking world, it goes after.


Where do you think the person who wrote this for Yahoo! hails from? England? Canada? Australia?

But wait! There’s more!

When she’s not confusing her right hand with her left (see today’s first post), the “news editor” for Yahoo! Style is confusing her readers. She’s also kinda insulting them with her disregard for niceties like punctuation, accurate spelling, and correct grammar.

Omitting a comma isn’t the worst offense in this paragraph, the ungrammatical were (which should be was) is. Or maybe it’s the inability to spell Ms. Wohlfahrt’s name correctly more than once:

tek sty 1

Each of those mistakes was made by a professional writer, who again thinks that each is a plural and that Ms. Wohlfahrt is someone named Wolfhart:

tek sty 2

But wait! There’s more! Once more the editor displays a woeful ignorance of grammar and the name of the subject she’s writing about:

tek sty 3

Where else can one person make so many mistakes in front of so many people and get paid for it?

Sentence to which I am confused

OK, so placing a comma after a closing quotation mark isn’t a mistake everywhere — just in the U.S. But writing a sentence like this from Yahoo! Makers is the opposite of clear communication:

to which you use mak

Arriving at the wrong word

Why is it so hard for Yahoo! Style writers to arrive at the correct word? Why do they think that the verb arrive can be followed by any preposition other than at, in, or on? Doesn’t everyone know that a wedding ceremony is most commonly called nuptials, with an S at the end?

nuptial sty

The writer also manages to include some dicey punctuation. The commas around Sonya Benson tell readers that Rihanna has only one close friend. How did the writer arrive at that conclusion?

Where do you get your information?

When you’re looking for reliable information about investing, finance, or business, what website do you turn to? Yahoo! Finance? If you’re like most people, you’re adversely influenced by the number of mistakes, no matter how minor, you find. Typos, misspellings, and grammar mistakes all erode the credibility of a website or an article.

So, how credible do you find this article, where the writer apparently knew she needed an apostrophe in the first sentence, but couldn’t figure out where? Or that she’s a little skimpy when it comes to her hyphen usage?

bingbing fin 0

(Omitting the hyphens in an age is one of the top 3 hyphen errors you’ll find on Yahoo!.)

I really think that if you’re going to write about finance and business for adults, you need to know the difference between a product (oh, like, say a Barbie doll) and a manufacturer (like Mantel). I’m pretty sure that even though Barbie is a pretty smart, yet plastic cookie, she did not release a doll:

barbie released doll fin

Perhaps to prove that she is completely uninterested in the correct use of punctuation, the writer throws in some random and thoroughly incorrect commas. But I’ll admit to one positive note: The writer has got me interested in seeing those ads where the Chinese actress stares, presumably at the camera:

stared commas fin

That’s an F for failure

If this photo caption from Yahoo! Style were written by a fourth grader, it’d get an F for a big fat failure:

show pre-nuptials sty

How the heck does this get published by one of the largest Internet companies in the world? The repeated word, the use of an apostrophe for an abbreviation, the misspelled launched and polka are all bad. Very bad. But the worst of these horrendous errors is the totally nonsensical, meaningless pile of words that ends the paragraph.

You might think so…

You might think that this misspelling of Freida Pinto’s name on Yahoo! Style was just a silly little typo:

frieda 1

You would be wrong. In the article behind that headline, we find the writer commits another “typo” as well as an idiotic idiomatic mistake with arrived to instead of arrived at:

frieda 2

And just in case you still want to give the writer the benefit of the doubt, let me remove all doubt. The writer really, really thinks this is how you spell Freida:

frieda 3

As for the punctuation, the placement of the comma may be OK in the UK, but in the States, commas and periods go before the closing quotation mark.

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 liberally 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!

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