Scotch that spelling!

Some trademarks are so common in English that they have become common nouns. But Scotch tape isn’t one of  them. The Yahoo! Style writer should have capitalized Scotch or referred to the sticky stuff as cellophane tape:

I just can’t go on

I tried reading an article on Yahoo! Style, but I just can’t force myself to read beyond the first paragraph. It is so stunningly awful in its grammatical mistakes and ignorance of basic English, that I gave up. Here’s what I found with just a cursory examination of the ‘graph; I’m sure I missed a few things that merit attention:

My experience tells me that this writer is not a native English-speaker. Her mistakes are ones that are common with people who did not grow up speaking and writing English. But there’s no excuse for not providing her with a competent editor, if only to save her from embarrassments like these:

  • 18 years old should be 18-year-old. He is 18 years old, but he is an 18-year-old model.
  • instagram follower should be Instagram followers.
  • on first name term seems to be a bastardization of on a first name basis.
  • to loose his cherries for the first time is not just a vulgar expression, it’s kind of a stupid metaphor. First, she means lose, not loose. And one can only lose one’s cherry (which is singular) once. So I’m really confused as to what this is purported to mean. Maybe it just means the writer is both careless and ignorant.
  • There’s a missing the in at Coachella music festival.
  • will also be is redundant when one ends a sentence with too.
  • been to famous music festival needs a the.

I’m sure I missed something, and I didn’t even touch on the run-on sentences. Please, Yahoo!, get this gal an editor!

Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and manmade errors

Maybe the writer for Yahoo! Style is dealing with a funky keyboard with an occasionally inoperable Shift key and a space bar that’s kinda jacked:

Just in case the writer actually made these mistakes intentionally, let’s school her: Big Bird and Cookie Monster are Muppets deserving of being treated as proper nouns. And manmade is one word according to the American Heritage Dictionary, though it allows the hyphenated man-made.

An Olympic size error

On one of the most visited sites in the world, an Olympic error:

fp-olympic

How does this happen?

How does this happen? How does a Yahoo! Style editor look at the acronym UNICEF and see all those capital letters and decide it should be spelled like this?

unicef-sty-hp

What does it do?

If you’re looking for a decadent candle to give this holiday season, take a look at this recommendation from Yahoo! Style:

it-does-sty

It’s not the greatest description of the candle. The writer managed to get the name of the product wrong (it’s Campagne d’Italie, not d’italia). And she mentions something that it does, but I don’t know what that is. As for the holder, the writer is correct when she says it’s “marble-esque” (though I’d prefer an actual word like “marble-like”) if she means actual marble. Yes, indeedie, it comes in a marble holder.

Other mistakes pale in comparison

I love sharing my classy spirits and bubbly, so I was interested in this description of a gift on Yahoo! Style:

pale-sty-1

I assumed the writer meant bubbly (which is slang for champagne) and not bubbles, but with Yahoo! writers, you never know… Anyhoo, here’s that “Champagne pale”:

pale-pail-pic

Now the American Heritage Dictionary says that when you’re writing about that sparkling white wine, it’s champagne, but the region it comes from is Champagne. Maybe the writer uses a different authority for spelling and capitalization. That could happen.

The item in question sure does look pale; in fact its color is very, very light. You might even call it a “pale pail” — that is, if you knew the difference between pale and a pail.

Hedging your bets?

Not sure if a word should be capitalized? Just do what the editors at Yahoo! Finance do, and capitalize it half the time:

cabinet-new-hp

Maybe your readers won’t notice that you’re inconsistent or unable to make up your mind. Maybe your readers know that if you’re following the Associated Press style, you’d write Cabinet when referring to the U.S. president’s team of department heads and advisers.

It’s a democratic process, but the Democratic party

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for the presidency, but you wouldn’t know it if you read this on Yahoo! Style:

democratic-clintonss-sty

As a common noun, democratic refers to a democracy or people in general. But if you’re referring to the political party in the U.S., it’s Democratic, with a big D.

Speaking of a big D, that’s the grade I’d give this writer for coming up with Clintons’s.  I’d be appalled if I hadn’t seen that error so often on Yahoo!. It seems Yahoo! writers (and their editors, if they have them) don’t know that the plural of Clinton is Clintons and the possessive of  Clintons is Clintons‘.

Hard to beat this

It’s hard to beat this for the number of errors in a single sentence:

velcro-flys-sty

I can’t explain why the Yahoo! Style writer included a registered trademark symbol with a product name, unless she’s under the illusion that she has to protect a trademark. Which brings me to the question: Why didn’t she recognize Velcro as a registered trademark, too? Because that would be as wrong as not capitalizing Velcro.

Don’t you wish we could all be flies on the wall when the writer discusses this with her editor? What would her argument be? Oh, never mind. I forgot: Yahoo! doesn’t believe in editors.

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