Who you calling a “good writer”?

Based solely on this sentence from Yahoo! Style, would you call the author a “good writer“? Would it matter to you that she doesn’t know where to place a question mark? Because this blogger isn’t feeling so good right about now. And neither are the readers of this sentence:

What was the character’s real name?

And you thought that William Christopher’s character on M*A*S*H was Father Mulcahy? That really was not the character’s name, according to the Einsteins at yahoo.com:


Why did the editors think that the name required quotation marks except to indicate it was the character’s so-called name? I guess if they were writing about characters in a Shakespearean play they’d refer to “Romeo” and “Juliet.” And they’d be wrong about that, too.

Is that your question?

“Based on a true story?” That’s the question that yahoo.com asks:


Of course, that makes no sense, because the entire headline is actually the question. For some reason the editor made a common mistake (at least it’s common on Yahoo!) by placing the question mark before the closing quotation mark. In the U.S., a comma and period go before a closing quotation mark; a semicolon and colon go after. If you’re looking to place a question mark, put it before the closing quote only if the entire text inside the quotation marks is a question. Otherwise, it goes after the closing quote mark.

‘Crazy punctuation’: Who wrote that?

Somebody at yahoo.com probably misunderstood a punctuation rule when it comes to quotation marks:


In the U.S., commas and periods go before a closing quotation mark. (In other English-speaking countries, they go after the quotation mark.) But, regardless of country, two punctuation marks never go before a closing quotation mark: Colons and semicolons.

“Swappable”: Where to put that colon

It’s not a huge mistake, but it’s worth mentioning: The Yahoo! Tech writer should swap the location of that colon and quotation mark:

colon quo tek

In the U.S., only two punctuation marks always go after a closing quotation mark: the colon and the semicolon.

Prom? Is that your question?

It’s a short question, and it may mean something to a Yahoo! Style reader, but to me it’s nonsense:

prom ques sty hp

Prom? That’s the question? Uh, no. The question is: Are these kids too young to be dressing up for ‘prom’? The entire headline is a question, not just the word in the quotation marks.

Editors are mum

When asked why they put quotation marks around a character’s name and why they thought “details are mum” made sense, the editors at yahoo.com are mum:

fp mum

If the name of the movie Mr. Affleck will direct is “Batman,” then it deserves quotation marks. But it’s not. That’s the name of the character that will be central to a movie. Character names don’t get special treatment. You wouldn’t write about “Romeo” and “Juliet” would you? (Well, if you’re a Yahoo! editor you might, but the rest of the English-speaking world wouldn’t.) And why tell us that “details are mum”? Because aren’t details always silent? Perhaps it was the producer who is mum and details are missing or nonexistent.

How many models?

Can anyone explain to me why Yahoo! Style writers don’t know how to form the possessive of a common noun?  Why would anyone think models’s could possibly be correct?

modelss bones sty

Maybe the writer didn’t know if she was writing about one model (and the possessive model’s) or more than one (and the possessive models’). So she covered both possibilities with models’s.

But how do you explain her ignorance of using single quotation marks within a quote? Maybe she played hooky the day that was taught in seventh grade.

So, if she was writing about two or more models, she should have written: the models’ “‘bones’ weren’t visible…

Stuck on stupid

Sometimes I think the editors at yahoo.com are just stuck on stupid. They keep repeating the same mistakes. A few days ago, they couldn’t agree on how to refer to a Mexican drug lord. And today, they’re faced with the same issue. Is his name simply El Chapo?

fp el chapo no quo

Or is it Chapo and does it require quotation marks?

fp chapo quo

I’m thinkin’ that maybe the editors don’t know that they’re in disagreement because even they don’t read yahoo.com.

Pick one

Displaying once again that the people who write for yahoo.com have no means to communicate with each other, someone decides that a drug lord’s nickname needs to be in quotation marks:

fp el chapo w

while a colleague decides the punctuation is unnecessary:

fp el chapo no

It doesn’t matter which one the writers and editors chose. They should just pick one style and go with it. But first, they need to establish a way to communicate their decision. I hear there are communication methods like telephone, email, instant messenger, and tin cans connected by a string. One of those might work.

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