Should we give this writer a “time-out”?

Does the person responsible for this misplaced question mark on Yahoo! Parenting deserve an editorial “time-out”?

time-out quest quot

Unless the words within quotation marks are a question, the question mark goes after the closing quote mark.

Whose writing is this?

Words get out of order on Yahoo! Makers on a now seemingly daily basis. Wrong words are used daily, too, especially when the writer can’t choose between two words, only one of which is correct. And with more than a dozen punctuation marks, how can one pick among them? And whose writing is actually worth attempting to replicate?

whos a list diy

Did you spot all those errors? The incorrect word order? The use of between (which should be used with only two objects) instead of among (for more than two)? The lack of a question mark at the end of the question? And the use of who’s (which is a contraction of who is or who has) instead of whose (the possessive pronoun)?

Was the other coke involved?

Was the editor involved with a little coke before writing this headline for yahoo.com?

fp coca-coca

Let’s see how long it takes the geniuses at Yahoo! to change that typo to Coca-Cola and to change infamous to famous. (Infamous is not a synonym for famous; it means notorious or well-known for a very, very bad reason.) Maybe they’ll also move that question mark so that it’s outside the quotation marks.

Today?s top typos

Today’s top two typos come to you from the home page of Yahoo! Style here:

sty hp weeks

and here:

sty hp insitute

and here:

daughers

and here’s another one!

instgrams

Fifty shades of Grey? Is that your question?

No, no, no. Somehow writers and editors at Yahoo! got the idea that terminating punctuation always goes before a closing quotation mark. To prove my assertion (as if one more example is proof), here’s a headline from Yahoo! Movies:

grey apos ques mov

In the U.S., commas and periods go before the closing quote mark. Colons and semicolons go after the quote mark. But exclamation marks and question marks can go before or after the quotation mark, depending on meaning. A question mark goes before the closing quote mark only if the words within the quotation marks are an actual question. That means that the writer thinks “Fifty shades of Grey” is the question. It is not.

How is that a question?

How could that be a question?

fp how lost

If the brain trust at the Yahoo! front page had written “How is body heat lost?” — that would be a question.

Remembering and forgetting wild things

Do you remember the ’60s song “Wild Thing”? This Yahoo! Makers writer remembers the song, but not its real title. She remembers the decade it was popular, but not where an apostrophe goes when writing about it. (The apostrophe is used to indicate the missing number 19, not to indicate a plural: ’60s.) She remembers how to spell valentine, but not that it’s a common noun when referring to a loved one. Oops. She didn’t remember that a question ends in a question mark:

wild thing diy 1

And I don’t remember seeing a misspelling of retailer Michaels this wild:

wild thing diy 2

Is that your question?

If the question in this headline on Yahoo! Movies is “Secretary?” then this punctuation is correct:

secretary quest quot movies

But, of course, the whole sentence is the question, so the question mark belongs after the closing quotation mark.

That’s not where it goes

Where does the question mark go? Not where they put it on the Yahoo! front page:

fp interview quest quot

Unless the question is Interview?, then the question mark belongs after the closing quotation mark.

That’s not impossible

Do you ever think that you’ve seen every writing error that could possibly be made when traipsing around the Internet? Just when I think there are no new mistakes to be made, I read something on Yahoo! DIY that disabuses me of that notion. I’ll see randomly capitalized words (like fall and holiday), common idioms screwed up by the use of the wrong preposition (the expression is set foot in), and of course the ever-popular it’s for what should be its:

fall time diy

This is not impossible, but it should be:

fall time diy 2

Opposed to pasta? You may be antipasta. You also may be anti-spell-checker and anti-punctuation:

fall time diy 3

(That’s the first time I’ve encountered a misspelled antipasto. Who doesn’t love a good misspelling?)

And I’m totally looking forward to a new dish involving the mysterious slided tomato; there’s apparently a reipe for the tomoato concoction:

fall time diy 4

Have we seen every error that could possibly be made in the English language? Hardly.

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