How many is a number?

The number of errors on yahoo.com reaches a level that hasn’t been seen since yesterday at noon. Here’s one more:

fp number reach

A number of these errors are avoidable by simply employing an editor with a thorough understanding of grammar.

The American Heritage Dictionary describes how to choose the correct verb to use with 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.

Dumbest Statement of the Day

If you read this on the Yahoo! front page, you might be wondering how Blake Lively could wear 256 outfits in one week:

fp outfits

That would require a lot of changes of clothes; in fact, she’d have to average 36 outfits a day. She’d have to change outfits not just between engagements, but during engagements and in the limo driving to  engagements.

So, why did the writer publish such a dumb statement? Because Ms. Lively asked designers for 256 outfits prior to her press tour. During the weeklong tour, she wore a total of 18 outfits. That’s just a tad different from what you read here.

Oh, and the use of was? If making grammatical errors were a sport, this writer would be considered an Olympian. A statement contrary to fact requires a verb in the subjunctive mood; in this case that’s were, not was.

There’s an Osborne every minute

Imagine devoting space on a page to a huge picture and a headline and misspelling one of the subjects of the accompanying article. It happens every day on Yahoo! Style. The victim of the careless spelling this time is Maxwell Osborne:

osbourne lg sty

Oddly stupid for editors

The Yahoo! Style editors made an oddly stupid comment about Amal Clooney:

patriotic sty

Are those people so ignorant that they don’t know that the flag of Great Britain is red, white, and blue? Or do they think that a “Brit” can’t be patriotic? Or are they just really stupid? I know it’s rude, but I’m going with all three.

Pattern, color. What’s the diff?

This description on the Yahoo! front page would be totally correct if by “pattern” the writer meant “color” because really, they’re just about the same:

fp by pattern

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.

Typo? I don’t see no stinkin’ typo

This one’s pretty hard to miss, but the staffers at Yahoo! managed to miss it anyway:

fp chliean

Downright wrong

There are at least two words in this article from Yahoo! Makers that are downright wrong. One of them is downright:

down right all together diy

I’d be downright ashamed if I wrote that and if I didn’t know the difference between all together (which means that members of a group are performing some act as a unit) and altogether (which is completely, totally, and altogether different).

Not being John Malkovich

This guy sure looks like John Malkovich, but according to the genius writers at yahoo.com he’s someone else,:

fp malcovich

Dumbest Statement of the Day

Today’s Dumbest Statement comes to you via Yahoo! Style:

james francos progeny

There’s just so many things wrong with this photo caption that maybe it’s qualifies for the Dumbest Statements of the Day. Or the month.

There’s the creative use of an apostrophe in Mr. Franco’s name, as if his first name is Jame.

There’s the horrendous claim that Jack Kilmer is Mr. Franco’s offspring. (Here’s a little clue to the writer: a progeny is a descendant or offspring. That’s not the same as a prodigy, which is the word a literate person would use.)

Let’s not overlook the parenthetical statement that implies James Franco is a 19-year-old, who starred in his own film, “Palo Alto.”

Finally we learn that James Franco, the 19-year-old, is a fan of Val Kilmer’s son and Saint Laurent, which strikes me as a bit of a non sequitur. Perhaps both James Franco and Saint Laurent are fans of Mr. Kilmer’s son. Who is also Mr. Franco’s son.

I’m so confused.

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