How many spots are on Pluto?

Can you spot the incorrect word in this headline on the Yahoo! front page?

fp spots puzzles

Either there were multiple spots on Pluto, and puzzles is wrong, or there was only one spot and spots is wrong. But the reader doesn’t know which is true.

Who is a brand?

There are more errors than you think that are on Yahoo! Style, including the use of who for a nonliving thing (twice!) and a holiday called Independence:

who sty

The pronoun who should be used only for people (and possibly animals with human-like characteristics); the correct word is that (in this excerpt) or which. The holiday the writer refers to is called Independence Day.

One day’s worth of errors

I couldn’t possibly address one day’s worth of errors found on the Yahoo! front page. I couldn’t handle just two hours’ worth of typos. There are just too many mistakes on Yahoo!, including this missing apostrophe:

fp 33 years worth

I’m not sure what “33 years’ worth of taxes” is. I guess it’s the same as “33 years of tax returns.” Anyhoo, the writer omitted the apostrophe in what the Associated Press calls a quasi possessive. Other similar constructions that you’re likely to encounter:

  • two weeks’ vacation
  • three years’ experience
  • his money’s worth

Fans watch out

I’m probably one of the few grammar fans who always watch out for mismatched subject-verb pairs. It stems from childhood when my friends and I would each pick a subject and then try to find the correct verb. I would have been thrilled to read this on Yahoo! Sports, with its mismatch of subject (fans) and verb (which should be watch) and where instead of when:

watches spo

Each with her own mistakes

Yahoo! Style publishes articles by several women, each with her own style and her own interpretation of English grammar.

their own sty

At least one gal thinks it’s OK to use a plural pronoun (like, oh, say, their) to refer to a woman. It’s not. The correct pronoun is her.

If it ends in S, add an apostrophe

It seems to be the punctuation philosophy at Yahoo! Makers: If a word ends in an S, add an apostrophe:

gets apos diy hp

Biometrics leads the way

Biometrics leads the way, except on the Yahoo! front page, where grammatical errors are in the lead:

fp biometrics

It’s like mathematics, physics, forensics, and ballistics — which all take a singular verb.

No wonder

No wonder there are so many grammatical mistakes on Yahoo!. Here’s an excerpt from an article on Yahoo! Travel — written by someone with the title Managing Editor:

and i trav

If you think that readers don’t notice grammatical errors,  a comment on the article should disabuse you of that notion:

To Jo Piazza, Managing Editor: “offered my boyfriend and I” …. should be “offered my boyfriend and me”… I guess it doesn’t take much to be managing editor anymore.

Stay in school

Now that school’s out, I think the Yahoo! Celebrity editors should hit the grammar books and learn a little something about the use of an apostrophe in a contraction:

schools out cel

If spelling and grammar are not your thing

If spelling and grammar are not your thing, and you’re a professional writer, perhaps you should employ the services of a competent editor. You don’t want to embarrass yourself like this Yahoo! Style writer:

hiking boating is sty


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