Nailing the cliche

One editor for Yahoo! Style didn’t exactly nail this cliché:

nail on the coffin

A nail on a coffin wouldn’t be as effective as a nail in a coffin. The cliché is “a nail in the coffin” or “the last (or final) nail in a coffin.”

What is your picture saying?

I happen to think that if “a picture speaks a thousand words,” then that’s not the kind of picture I want in my house. I like the quiet. I also happen to think that the writer for Yahoo! DIY doesn’t know that the expression is “a picture is worth a thousand words”:

pic speaks 1000 words

Frankly, I’d rather listen to a picture than read more of her words.

Taken to the next misstep

This headline on the Yahoo! front page takes idiotic idioms to the next level:

fp next step

I suppose if you’re just learning English, you might not know common expressions like “take it to the next level” or “take the next step.” If that’s the case, I suggest you have someone familiar with common idioms edit your writing before you publish it.

Can the tables be turned?

What a difference one little word can make. When it was reported on that a car dealership turns tables, I was a bit puzzled:

fp turns tables

All I could think about was the Jonas Brothers turning a table:


What the writer meant was “turns the tables.” That’s the idiom and it means “To reverse a situation and gain the upper hand,” according to the American Heritage Dictionary.

An awkard surpise

When I read this headline (just like another one) on Yahoo! Shine I was sure that the writer made two typos, not two misspellings.

aca 1

Well, I don’t know about surpise, but it sure looks like the writer thought she knew how to spell a cappella:

aca 2

She probably also thought she knew the name of the TV show “The Sing-Off” — she was almost right.

Perhaps the writer is still learning English and all its odd expressions and cliches. That might account for her screwing up the expression “dressed to the nines,” meaning “very fashionably and elaborately dressed.” I wouldn’t call a white shirt, black pants, and a skinny black tie “dressed to the nines” or even “coordinating dapper duds,” since the “duds” were all the same.

aca 3

But I quibble. I should be focusing on something more substantial, like screwing up the title of the song “(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love With You,” which contains the lyric “only fools rush in.” And botching the Disney tune “Do You Want to Build a Snowman.”

There’s an extra word here and an inexplicable allegation that “all of their hearts melted with gratitude” (it’s doubtful that the gal who ran away was oozing gratitude):

aca 4

Finally, after all the awkward wording, inaccuracies, and misspellings, the writer leaves us with one last awkwardness:

aca 5

How does he get his glove on?

If you’ve got the world around your finger, can you put on boxing gloves? And what the hell is the world doing around your finger?

around his finger

You can have the world wrapped around your little finger. You can have the world on a string and the string around your finger. Not satisfied with those old metaphors, the geniuses at Yahoo! Sports have made up their own. I doubt that it’ll catch on.

What hue is that?

Anyone know what hues we might find under the rainbow? I’ve heard about “every color under the sun” and “every color of the rainbow,” but I’m thinking there must be some really special colors under a rainbow:

hue under the rainbow omg

Thanks to the cliché-challenged writer at Yahoo! omg! for this real poser.

Flexing his weight

Why is it so difficult? I really don’t understand how a professional writer can tap out a city and state and not put at least the comma between them. But that’s what the writer/editor for Yahoo! Sports‘ “Prep Rally” did:

coppell texas no com sports pr

But what can you expect from someone who misspells Aliso Viejo and thinks that flexing weight makes sense?

coppell texas no com sports pr 0

Does that ring a bell?

When writers try to use common idioms and get them wrong, I scratch my head. “What do they think that means?” I wonder, dusting the dandruff off my keyboard.

Such is the case when I read this on Yahoo! Shine:

ringer shine

What did the writer think “put through the ringer” meant? This is a ringer:


This is a wringer — the part of a wringer washer that squeezes out water:


Giving readers a splitting headache

I almost spit out my nonfat, sugar-free vanilla latte when I read this on

fp splitting image

Instead, I laughed so hard that I now have a splitting headache. Will someone please inform the children who write for Yahoo! that the expression is “spitting image” while I go get an Advil. Or two.

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