I don’t think it’s right

It’s not unusual to see a completely erroneous apostrophe in the possessive pronoun its. What is unusual is a missing apostrophe in the contraction it’s. But it’s not so unusual on Yahoo Finance:


It’s its, but it should be it’s

It’s probably the most common homophonic mistake on Yahoo!. And today it’s on the Yahoo! front page:

fp its ready

I can’t believe that this is anything other than the result of carelessness or a brain fart. Surely professional writers know that the contraction for it is is it’s.

Homophonic horrors

It’s got to be a record, even for Yahoo!. How many homophonic errors can one writer make in a single article? Quite a few, if that writer works for Yahoo! Shine. And other errors abound, too. Like the use of nice instead of nicer. Of course, your appears in place of the correct you’re:

The split workweek (it’s one word) is a minor error, but it’s is just horribly wrong:

As are you’re and whomever, here:

(The word should be whoever, since it’s the subject of the verb is footing.)

I can’t believe this gaffe slipped by the editor (assuming there is an editor):

A gift that compliments “the in-kitchen course” would have to be a pretty clever gift (“Oh, nice recipe you got there.”):

More likely, the writer meant complement, meaning “goes well with or completes.” But what the heck did the writer mean here:

Anybody got a guess? My guess: The writer was in a hurry, didn’t read what she wrote, and didn’t ask for the support of an editor or proofreader. If she had, this typo might have been corrected:

Or maybe not.

Where to begin?

Sometimes I come across Web writing that is so full of errors that it defies categorization. Such is the case with this post on the Y! Live blog:

The voice of the writer is clear: breezy, hip, young, and unconcerned with the conventions of grammar. The overall impression is also clear: sloppy and so poorly written as to suggest a total disdain for language and the reader. Blogs can have an informal style that allows for slang and creative use of language. But when the blog represents a company– and not an individual–some level of literacy is expected.  

Misspellings, lack of subject-verb agreement, missing punctuation, typos–I’ve circled just the most egregious of the errors in this post. Here are a few:

  • In the opening, the writer missed the commas around guys. When addressing the reader, you should set off the term of address with commas. If the sentence is short (like Hi guys!) you can safely omit the comma.
  • This weeks broadcast needs an apostrophe (this week’s broadcast) as does next week’s show.
  • The indefinite pronoun some requires a plural subject, although I believe the writer meant one, and not some.
  • More safe should be safer.
  • Riff raff should be spelled as one word: riffraff.
  • Bay Area is a proper noun that should be capitalized.

If you’re interested, I’m sure you can identify the other slip-ups. As for me, I think I’m going to go lie down now.

You’re misspelling

When you’re writing for the Web, sometimes you have to be fast. And sometimes speed comes at the sacrifice of your spelling. Maybe that’s what happened in this snippet from Yahoo! Shine:

What to make of skilz? If it had two L’s and a Z, it might have been a nod to today’s tweens and teens who seem to be rebelling against conventional spelling. But that innovative version of the word is one even kids aren’t using.

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