The principal writing principle

The principal (or most important) principle (or basic rule) of writing is to know something about the language you’re writing in. The writer for Yahoo! Style illustrates one possible outcome if you dare to violate that principle:

The head administrator of a high school is a principal. Didn’t we all learn in third grade: The principal is your pal?

 

Alter that word

The writer for Yahoo! Style altered the meaning of this sentence when she used alter instead of altar:

You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you

Ever wonder if the Yahoo! Style writers think this blog is all about them? Well, it practically is, since they make so many errors they seemed to be featured every day. In the same vein, there are lots more errors in other Yahoo! sites, but the ones on Style are the easiest to find, like this one:

in-the-same-vain-sty

Does this strike a chord?

This strikes a chord with me, and not in a good way. It’s an example from Yahoo! Style of a writer confusing a group of three notes (which is a chord) and  a string or rope (called a cord):

chords-sty

Where did that come from?

What do you call an accessory that goes with everything you have on? A wherewithal!

Ha-ha. That riddle just popped into my teensy brain when I read this on Yaoo! Style:

where-sty-gaga

If this homophonic horror happened in a nineteenth century classroom, the writer would be sitting on a stool in the corner where she would be forced to wear a dunce cap.

 

Take a peek at this!

It piques my interest when I see a mistake like this one on Yahoo! Style:

sneak-peak-sty-3

Did the writer choose to use peak (instead of the correct peek) because of the spelling of sneak?

This is a shoo-in for worst mistake of the day

From Yahoo! Style:

shoe-in-style

The noun meaning a sure winner is shoo-in.

Other mistakes pale in comparison

I love sharing my classy spirits and bubbly, so I was interested in this description of a gift on Yahoo! Style:

pale-sty-1

I assumed the writer meant bubbly (which is slang for champagne) and not bubbles, but with Yahoo! writers, you never know… Anyhoo, here’s that “Champagne pale”:

pale-pail-pic

Now the American Heritage Dictionary says that when you’re writing about that sparkling white wine, it’s champagne, but the region it comes from is Champagne. Maybe the writer uses a different authority for spelling and capitalization. That could happen.

The item in question sure does look pale; in fact its color is very, very light. You might even call it a “pale pail” — that is, if you knew the difference between pale and a pail.

A capital question!

Here’s a question for ya’: Did the Yahoo! Style writer mean this “mock inauguration scene” purportedly took place in the U.S. capital? Or in the U.S. Capitol?

us-capital-sty

The U.S. capital (with a small C and two A’s) is Washington D.C. The U.S. Capitol (with a capital C, one A, and one O) is a building in the capital that houses Congress.

Prime minister heartbreaker

Is that a heartbreaking prime minister on “Walking Dead” or did the editors at yahoo.com confuse premier (which is a prime minister) with the word that means “first public performance,” or premiere?

fp-premier

Yeah, you’re right; it’s the latter.

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