Series of errors is common

A series of errors on the Yahoo! front page is not unusual. It’s quite common to see a mismatch of a subject (like series) and its verb (which should be aims):

fp series aim

The noun series is both singular and plural. In this case, it’s used as a singular noun because there’s only one series of ads.

The number of errors is increasing

The number of errors on Yahoo! is increasing every day. A number of errors have appeared on yahoo.com every day:

fp a number has

Here’s what the American Heritage Dictionary says about matching a verb to the noun number:

As a collective noun number may take either a singular or a plural verb. It takes a singular verb when it is preceded by the definite article the: The number of skilled workers is increasing. It takes a plural verb when preceded by the indefinite article a: A number of the workers have learned new skills.

The lengths some people will go to!

The length of a skirt and the weight of a coat are two separate things. When they’re the subject of a sentence, as they are here on Yahoo! Style, they require a plural verb:

length covers sty

Length and weight; two things. Yup, that about covers it.

No wonder there are so many grammatical gaffes!

Is it any wonder that there are so many grammatical mistakes made by the writers and editors at Yahoo! Style? Here’s the opening sentence from a Style article written by — wait for it — the site’s editor in chief:

does it sty

Looks like the EIC cares as little about quality writing as his entire editorial staff.

What do they have in common?

What do these photo captionsStyle have in common? They were all written by the Yahoo! Style “editors.” They all contain the same grammatical error — a mismatch of a plural subject and a singular verb:

verb sty 3

verb sty 2

verb sty 1

Disappearance of correct grammar

The disappearance of correct grammar on the Yahoo! front page has heightened concerns about the state of the language:

fp have heightened

The inability of a professional writer or editor to match a verb (which should be has heightened) to a singular subject (disappearance) says a lot about Yahoo!’s commitment to quality.

No surprise on yahoo.com

It’s no surprise to readers of Terribly Write that there’s a grammatical goof and a misspelling on the Yahoo! front page:

fp battles continues

Readers can’t tell if there are multiple battles going on (and the verb continues is wrong) or if there’s one battle (and the word battles is wrong, but continues is right). But everyone (except the staff at Yahoo!) can tell that suprise is wrong.

Was that one baby or two?

There’s a mistake in this headline from Yahoo! Makers, that’s obvious:

babies finds

What’s not obvious: Should that be “Baby Finds” or “Babies Find”? Some typos are easy to spot and don’t muddy the meaning of a sentence. And some are easy to spot and leave readers scratching their head.

Ack! I’m running out of red ink!

Few things irk me more than really bad writing by people who are paid to write. Unless it’s management that allows really bad writing to be published. And one indication of bad writing is the amount of red ink I bleed on a page. So, this article from Yahoo! Style is really bad and I’m really irked.

Omitting a hyphen from an age is a relatively minor, but totally unnecessary, mistake:

bush 1

Using the wrong word? Not minor mistake in my opinion, although I alternately agree and disagree that the writer should be taken out behind to the woodshed:

bush 2

It’s hard to imagine a writer confusing alternatively with alternately. With mistakes like that, this writer will never receive the acclaim of legitimate writers, unless she acquires the services of a competent editor:

bush 3

Her word choice continues to be sketchy at best: No, didgeridoos and balalaikas are not a few instruments, they are two instruments:

bush 4

More red ink! I need more red ink! Or at least an explanation for why there’s a the in front of Bush’s mystique but none in front of performer, why she didn’t put the only in front of the word it modifies (which is one), why it’s not an accidental death, and why this writer can’t match a verb (which should be have kept) to its subject:

bush 5

Just how old is a bohemian? And is a “slight bohemian age” like dog-years?

bush 6

I guess we should expect a writer who doesn’t know the difference between a bohemian age and a bohemian edge to care about spelling a name correctly, like Clare Waight Keller:

bush 7

Are you still with me? If so, then you got to the best of the worst word usages of all times: the blouses with the bellowing sleeves. I’ve heard of loud prints, but never loud sleeves. I wonder if they’re red.

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.

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