Is it fear of that little punctuation character that drives Yahoo! staffers to misuse the apostrophe? They use it to form the plural of words, like this from Yahoo! TV‘s “Primetime in No Time”:

They avoid using it in a contraction like it’s:

And fear it in possessives, even when it’s required in headlines like this one from Yahoo! News‘ “Trending Now”:

Apostrophobia? Or simply a case of carelessness and indifference?

When clothes look like people

Penelope Cruz wore an outfit that looked like an actor? How can that be? According to the editors on the Yahoo! front page it happened on the red carpet:

If she’d worn an outfit that looked similar to an actor’s (or an actor’s outfit), I’d understand. But this has me totally confused.

Your writing and editing kill me

It just kills me that the editors working on the Yahoo! front page (one of the most visited pages on the Interwebs) can’t match a verb to its subject:

The subject is bombing and shooting; the verb should be kill.

What your writing says about your personality

 A totally unscientific study conducted by Terribly Write has found that your writing reveals a lot about your personality. Based on an analysis of a single article on  Yahoo! Shine, the study’s author concludes that the words you use and your attention to grammar and spelling can disclose personality traits and quirks. How many of these apply to you?

You don’t capitalize proper nouns: You’re a free spirit, unencumbered by the chains of grammar, unfettered by the need to recognize proper nouns with a touch of the Shift key:

You can’t distinguish between homophones: You cling to the principle that words don’t matter, that if two words are pronounced the same, then either one will do:

You overlook small typos: You believe that the smaller the word, the less important it is to communication; one indefinite article is as good as another;

You really, really don’t capitalize proper nouns: You’re a go-getter who doesn’t waste time holding down the Shift key. You have places to go! Words to mangle!

Your writing contains strings of words with no discernible meaning: You’re unconcerned about your image and the effect your mistakes have on others. “Who cares if it makes no sense!” is your personal mantra:

You really have trouble with homophones and hyphens: Despite your good intentions, you often make mistakes, whether it’s using the wrong word or omitting hyphens:

You can’t match a subject to a verb: These types of people are crowd-pleasers, who make mistakes, even if by doing so they sound a bit illiterate. Self-expression outweighs the need to avoid typos:

You ignore punctuation: You’re laid-back with a fondness for vintage abbreviations like M.D. and a disregard of correctly punctuating book titles:

You use random capital letters: You’re a fun-loving prankster who likes to play practical jokes on your readers by using capital letters indiscriminately:

You omit words: You think your readers are too stupid to notice you’ve omitted a word, but not this time, buddy:

Does this sound like you? If so, you, too, could get a job as a writer for Yahoo!.

Has she pleaded guilty?

The senior political reporter for Yahoo! News‘ “The Ticket” should plead guilty to a grammatical felony for this goofy verb tense:

Creating a new past tense for a verb seems to be a trend at Yahoo!. Or else it’s just the result of writers who are grammatically impaired. The past tense of plead is pleaded or pled, not plead.

But that’s not the worst crime in this article about John Edwards. It’s the allegation that the former senator faces a $250,000 charge per fine:

Looks like she’s having a little problem with the words of order.

Good grammar and proofreading are all you need

Yikes! Someone working on the Yahoo! front page needs a lesson on grammar, specifically how to match a verb with its subject:

The subject of that sentence is plural (pad and shirt) and the verb should be are. Good grammar and proofreading are all you need.

What led you astray?

What led the writer for Yahoo! Shine down this ungrammatical path? Does she think that the verbs read and lead are genetically related and that the past tense of lead is just like the past tense of read?

They’re not. The past tense of read (pronounced REED) is read (pronounced RED). The past tense of lead (pronounced LEED) is led (pronounced LED).

Asses your writing

Just skip over the extra word here on Yahoo! Shine and head right on down to the best typo of the month:

You can stop reading right now, because the rest of the grammatical errors just can’t compare with that.

If you’re still with me, you’ll notice that the writer knew she needed a hyphen somewhere, but couldn’t figure out where:

She should have kept homework whole (it’s not hyphenated) and added the hyphen here: homework-free.

I think the writer, whose study of the English language was clearly insufficient, could use a refresher course on common homophonous errors:

Who’s is a contraction for who is or who has. The possessive of who is whose, which is what she should have used.

It makes a statement, all right!

This photo caption from Yahoo! Shine makes a statement, and it’s “your grammar is a bit wobbly”:

The sentence has a plural subject (silhouette and color) and needs a verb that matches it (which would be make).

Walt Disney: Singular guy

Walt Disney was a singular guy.  He was a genius in the entertainment industry. He was the Steve Jobs of his time. In this caption from Yahoo! Movies the verb should be singular, too, just like Walt:

The phrase “along with his brother Roy” doesn’t change the subject, which is Walt Disney. Could that be a simple typo? Possibly, but it doesn’t look like a typo, since the same wording appears in the photo itself:


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