A word that’s not right

English is funny. And challenging. It provides lots of words for lots of circumstances. But it’s also missing a few words that would be of benefit to writers and readers. One of those missing words is a possessive form of the word that. (Make that two missing words; which doesn’t have a possessive form either.) But that didn’t stop the writer for Yahoo! Autos from trying to come up with one — and failing:

car thats auto

The writer might have used whose: a car whose value is beginning to soar. But that might have set off alarm bells among grammarians who feel who and whose cannot be applied to non-humans. What’s a writer to do? Recast the sentence. One of these might have worked:

  • a car with a value that’s beginning to soar
  • when the car’s value is beginning to soar
  • a car the value of which is beginning to soar

Each of those options is slightly longer, slightly different in meaning, or slightly awkward. But none of those would have appeared in Terribly Write.

Would that be an Alp?

Kylie Jenner’s cap and gown, which she word for her high school graduation, are two objects, I think. Isn’t that a plural subject in this sentence from Yahoo! Style?

sneak peak sty

If that were the only problem with that sentence, I’d probably ignore it. But no! The writer had to go tell us about a “sneak peak,” which I think refers to some mountain, like an Alp. Readers might be more interested in a sneak peek of a party thrown by Ryan Seacrest. Hey, at least she didn’t tell us it was throne by Mr. Seacrest. So maybe it’s not so bad.

My ‘aha’ moment

Reading this on Yahoo! Makers, I had an “aha” moment: This writer is in need of a competent editor and a course in English and writing:

a-ha diy

It wasn’t the incorrectly capitalized portobello; it wasn’t even the incorrectly hyphenated aha, although both indicate a careless writer unfamiliar with a basic dictionary. It was the dangling participle styling, which leads readers to believe that Mushroom Savanna did the styling of the fungi.

Whoever decided this was correct…

Whoever decided that whomever was correct in this excerpt from Yahoo! Style was wrong:

whomever decided sty

The pronoun whomever is the objective case of whoever, meaning that it can be the object of a preposition, but not the subject of a verb like, oh, say decided.

Sometimes I think writers use whom and whomever because they think it sounds more sophisticated or erudite. When used correctly, it might.

I’ll never ever understand

I’ll never ever understand who sentences like this one from Yahoo! TV get past the editors:

none never

If I believe this, then all pupils on “The Simpsons” seem to graduate. Which is not what the writer meant. Someone needs to explain the effect of a double negative like none and never.

Which word looks best?

Which of these words in this Yahoo! Movies title looks best?

which look mov

Here’s a hint: It ain’t look, since it’s plural and its subject is which, which isn’t.

To each his own

Each time I read something like this from Yahoo! Sports, I cringe:

each have spo mlb

As a pronoun, each is generally singular, but there are exceptions. Here’s what the American Heritage Dictionary says:

…the subject of a sentence beginning with each is grammatically singular, and so the verb and following pronouns must be singular: Each of the apartments has (not have) its (not their) own private entrance (not entrances). When each follows a plural subject, however, the verb and subsequent pronouns remain plural: The apartments each have their own private entrances (not has its own private entrance). When each follows the verb, it has been traditionally considered acceptable to say either The boys have each their own bike or The boys have each his own bike, though both of these (and especially the latter) are likely to seem stilted in comparison to The boys each have their own bike or The boys each have their own bikes. ·

This magazine wants you to read its magazine

Maxim is a magazine. The writer for Yahoo! Style seems to have forgotten that. She thinks Maxim (when it’s in italics) is the company that publishes the magazine and that you can refer to a company by a plural pronoun. She’s wrong on both counts:

their magazine sty

She needs an editor to take the reins and correct her word usage. An editor who’ll remove coverups from a list of swimsuits since it’s not an actual swimsuit. An editor who’ll remove a galloping case of redundancy and who’ll make sense of this final sentence:

swimsuits sty

Vogue and the CFDA are two things

Vogue is a magazine. The CFDA is the Council of Fashion Designers of America. It is not Vogue. So, that makes a plural subject of this headline on Yahoo! Style, requiring the plural verb announce:

announces sty hp

Casting about for the right word

Ugh. Did the writer of this headline on Yahoo! Style really write that? Is there a professional writer or editor who really thinks that the past tense of cast is casted? Yes. And it’s appalling.

casted sty hp

Just in case the writer or editor is reading this, let me explain: The past tense of cast is cast. It’s just that simple. Now go find someone to explain what a past tense is.


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