It piques my interest when I see a mistake like this one on Yahoo! Style:
Did the writer choose to use peak (instead of the correct peek) because of the spelling of sneak?
Why do the writers and editors at Yahoo! have so much trouble with Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ name? Her last name is Louis-Dreyfus, not Dreyfus:
That’s bad. But it’s not the worst they’ve done to Ms. Louis-Dreyfus. There was the time they called her Julia Louie Dreyfus, which I thought was pretty funny. And the hyphen confusion that produced Julia-Louis Dreyfus. And the gender change that resulted in Julia Louise-Dreyfus. And the time she was both Julia-Louis Dreyfus and Julia Louis Dreyfuss in the same article.
I guess you just gotta admire the creativity, if not the accuracy, of Yahoo! staffers.
President and Mrs. Obama admit to having two daughters, Malia and Sasha. Is there a third daughter hidden away in the White House attic? That’s what I’m wondering after reading this on yahoo.com:
If the president has only two daughters, then Sasha would be the younger of the two. But the word youngest implies he has at least three. Where is the third? And why is he hiding her? This is how rumors (and hoaxes) get started…
This is possibly the worst writing by a professional that I have read in a long, long time. It’s not because of the grammatical errors and wacky word use (though they are factors). It’s because the Yahoo! Style writer made no attempt to state actual facts. It seems she made up most of the information in the article and there was no oversight to stop her.
It starts with this little lie, which alleges that Martha Washington was a great hostess at the White House:
Martha Washington never lived in the White House, since it wasn’t even built when her husband was president. In fact, Mrs. Washington never even lived in Washington, DC. But this writer’s imagination isn’t confined by facts.
Moving on to Eleanor Roosevelt, the writer decided her life needed some enhancements, so she alleges that Mrs. Roosevelt helped serve as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy:
I don’t know how one does that, but I do know that it was her husband who was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. But, let’s just pooh-pooh facts.
Why would a writer make up a name for a first lady? I have no idea, but I have evidence that this writer did:
Pat Nixon’s real name is not and never was Patricia; it was Thelma. Why couldn’t the writer just Google that? Because facts are not important at Yahoo!.
Then there’s the “fact” that Rosalynn Carter’s father helped support her family after he died:
I guess that’s possible, if there’s an inheritance involved.
Nancy Reagan gets a little better treatment: The writer claims that Mrs. Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign was jaw-droppingly successful, while the rest of the country considered it an embarrassment:
Wasn’t it just two months ago that Mrs. Clinton was running for the presidency, and not the “Presidential office”?
She wasn’t “the U.S. Senator of New York” (which makes no sense); she was a U.S. senator from New York. That’s a tad different.
What else is a tad different? This claim that Barbara Bush is Laura Bush’s mother:
Barbara Bush is George W. Bush’s mother; it would be an incestuous scandal if she was also Laura Bush’s mother. She is Laura Bush’s mother-in-law. Laura Bush didn’t create a “literary program,” but a literacy program. But I quibble. After all, it’s only words.
I guess elementary schools don’t teach the same things nowadays that they did when I was a youngster. Of course, that was many, many decades ago, but I thought there were some subjects that were eternal. Like how to form the plural of nouns. Judging from this excerpt from Yahoo! Style, schools are neglecting that bit of knowledge — or the writer was playing hooky that day:
The possessive plural of lady is ladies’. It follows a simple rule: Form the plural of the noun and if it ends in S, add an apostrophe. So, it’s idiots’ and dummies’. If the plural doesn’t end in S, add an apostrophe and S: So women’s, children’s, and alumni’s are correct.
This Yahoo! Style writer should get a jump-start on her high school diploma and head over to a dictionary. She might learn that jump-start has a hyphen, workout is one word when it’s a noun and this sentence is altogether different from correct:
Let’s say this all together: If you mean “totally, entirely, completely,” use altogether. Use all together when you mean “together, as a unit or whole.”