Still both wrong and awkward

Recently the Yahoo! front page featured an ugly grammatical mistake, with the correlative conjunction both…and joining to unequal, nonparallel elements:

Of course Terribly Write took them to task (with almost no snark), even providing three alternatives to turn the embarrassment into a grammatically correct sentence.

Knowing that the editors on use Terribly Write as their de facto editor (because I think Yahoo! has no competent editors), I wasn’t surprised when they made a stab at correcting the error:

fp both the top

Faced with three correct alternatives, what did the editors at choose? None of them. Instead, they rewrote the grammatically incorrect sentence, producing a different grammatically incorrect sentence. Brilliant.

When does school start?

I can’t wait until the kids are back in school again. Then maybe they won’t be hacking into Yahoo! Shine, and messin’ with the photo captions:

Man, there’s no way a professional writer could jam so many mistakes in so little space, right? Any high school graduate knows that the 1990s doesn’t have an apostrophe to make it plural. Any fourth grader could spot the typo in “after he divorce.” The staff on any high school newspaper knows you don’t use both “in addition” and “not only… but also” in the same sentence. And if you must use the correlative conjunction “not only… but also,” put the gosh darn words in the right place (and while you’re at it, correct that other typo): Diana was known not only for her amazing sense of style, but also for her charity work.

School can’t start soon enough.

Let’s learn from this

Here are some simple lessons we can all learn (or be reminded of) from the gaffes on Yahoo! TV‘s “Daytime in No Time.”

A misspelling and misplaced commas: A spell-check would have identified the misspelled liaison. It appears on many lists of the Top 100 Misspelled Words. In the U.S. a comma goes before the closing quotation mark:

A misplaced apostrophe: If a plural noun doesn’t end in S (like men, women, children), form the possessive by adding an apostrophe and an S (in that order):

A missing apostrophe: Let’s take a look at the contraction let’s. It’s short for let us. It’s the only common contraction that consists of a verb and a pronoun with a missing letter. But it needs an apostrophe:

Misplaced correlative conjunction: The pair either… or is a correlative conjunction that joins like words, phrases, or clauses. The collection of words on each side of or should be the same part of speech: If there’s a verb before the or, there should be a verb after it. If there’s a clause before it, there should be a clause after it:

This could be corrected by either this rewording:

they either had too much free time or just love to dance

or this rewording:

either they have too much free time or they just love to dance

If neither is right, or is wrong

I’m still astounded whenever I read a mismatched correlative conjunction. Just where was the editor when this showed up on Yahoo! TV‘s “Primetime in No Time”?

The correct partner for neither is nor, not or.

It was wrong even in the Dark Ages

It looks like the keyboard got away from the editor on Yahoo! Shine and just went crazy with the meningitis:

I wonder if the nervous tick is one that delivers Lyme disease. I thought that since the Dark Ages everyone knew that the nervous twitch is a tic.

Don’t we all know what we’re planning to do? I think it would be better to know if you should plan to spend the entire day over a toilet. I don’t know if there is one warning or multiple warnings, but I know this ain’t right:

I don’t mean to talk down to you, but have you noticed that this writer can’t figure out if it’s Talkdown or TalkDown? Are you annoyed by the fact that she doesn’t know that the correlative conjunction both…and must join two like objects; so, if you write the iPad, you should also write the iPhone:

Now your concerns are that this writer gets paid to write crap, and you’re ticked off:

I am, too.

Looking more than careless

If you place a correlative conjunction in the wrong place, you look not only careless, but also grammatically challenged. It’s a lesson that’s wasted on the editor of the Yahoo! front page:

The correlative conjunction not only…but also must joint two like objects, such as two verbs or two nouns. Corrected, the sentence would be: These careers offer not only work-life balance, but also high salaries.

Writing gaffes elicit laughs

Ha! It’s just too, too funny that there is a so-called senior editor working for Yahoo! Shine who gets paid to write this:

Mistakes like that can elicit guffaws, eye-rolls, or deep depression. I prefer to see the humor in a huge company like Yahoo! throwing money at a writer who probably hasn’t benefited from a high school education. 

There’s nothing wrong about this, unless you feel that a dollar sign and the word dollars is a tad redundant. Personally, I think it’s hilarious:

I don’t think women are allowed to keep their kid’s stuff — that would piss off a lot of kids. Perhaps they should just keep their kid stuff. Either way, it’s pretty funny:

Little League is a proper noun, but seeing it in lowercase gives me the giggles:

Again with the dollar sign and dollars! Too funny! Really. And if you’re referring to the auction house, it should be Christie’s:

I have no clue as to how you take a noun like jailbait and create a meaningful verb. Really, you don’t. It makes no sense. And neither does the hyphen in con artists. And do men pack a teddy bear or multiple teddy bears? The answer is locked inside the head of this genius comedic writer:

This is just a missing hyphen, but I think the minimalist punctuation is funny:

A typo? Hilarious. A misplaced both is amusing for both girls and boys:

OK, so how many mistakes can a writer make in three words? (It’s kinda like a riddle. And I love riddles.) There’s the unnecessary commas, the missing space, and worst still, the undercapitalized John DeVore. I think that’s four!

In this side-splitting article, it’s only fitting that the writer include a totally incomprehensible (but hilarious!) statement comparing a man with a prized possession or maybe prized possessions. Or something else.

Sensitive subject gets insensitive treatment

If you’re writing about a sensitive subject like suicide, give it the respect it deserves, and not the shoddy treatment it gets on Yahoo! Shine.

Perhaps the transsexual who attempted suicide, Nadia Almada, prefers that her name be misspelled, keeping her somewhat out of the spotlight:

I’m pretty sure celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay would prefer his name be spelled correctly:

The misplaced comma, missing hyphen, and incorrect hyphen in bipolar are more evidence of the lack of regard for the subject:

The other mistakes in the article are the kind you can expect every day from this writer. She can’t cover up this mistake. It’s a verb. It doesn’t need a hyphen:

If your dream is to be a writer, try exercising a little respect for the English language:

Learn to proofread so your writing won’t be missing a word:

The correlative conjunction is not only…but also. And aftercare is the correct spelling here:

There’s an S missing here:

There’s another misspelling of Gordon Ramsay’s surname. Did the writer just make up a spelling for Gail Simmons? Because Googling it would be too hard? Or she doesn’t have respect for the TV personality? Another misplaced piece of punctuation and an incorrect comma separating a subject from its verb show a lack of respect for the language:

Where’s the apostrophe that would make this correct?

Misspellings, grammatical errors, and just plain sloppiness; they all show a lack of respect for the subject, the language, and the reader.

Imagining what it’s like to be a real writer

Do you ever imagine what it’s like to be a professional writer? One who actually collects wads of cash for writing? If you want to get a gig at Yahoo! Shine, you really, really should proofread your writing:

If you think this is correct, then ask a real editor to weigh in:

Maybe this is a typo, or it may be that you think it is okie-dokie:

You could be a fine writer, but it is more likely both your spelling and your grammar are wobbly. And you really don’t know that the correlative conjunction both…and needs to join like items:

Can you size up the problems here? (Hint: There’s two unnecessary and incorrect hyphens and two missing hyphens.)

Do you have trouble proofreading. Yes? Do you spend time imagining what it would be like to write like a real professional?

You’re not writing on someone’s Facebook wall

For some people, the writing standards for comments on Facebook are a bit lax. But if you’re a professional writer, your readers expect grammatically correct prose. So, maybe the writer for Yahoo! Movies was a bit confused and thought he or she was writing on a friend’s Facebook wall:

When using the correlative conjunction either…or, a real writer knows that it must join like things, like two nouns, two verbs, or two clauses — not a clause and a noun. I’m not sure about the word internet, because Yahoo! doesn’t seem to have a standard for spelling it; you’ll see it as both internet and Internet throughout Yahoo!. There’s also a missing word (it should be something like “life story has been made”) and when you’re talking directly to Steve Jobs, put a comma before his name.

Take that, “professional” writer!

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