Poor guy! The writer for Yahoo! Style most have had his grammar books and dictionary stolen. And with his writing skills, that’s a real tragedy:
What is with the writers at Yahoo!? How could the Yahoo! Style writer make a boneheaded grammatical mistake like this:
I mean, really, doesn’t it just sound wrong when you read that? You don’t need a degree in English to know that it’s really, really wrong to say “she and her husband’s snapshots.” You just need an ear for English.
For years I’ve been recommending that Yahoo! stop outsourcing the writing on yahoo.com to non-English-speaking countries. But it appears that my recommendations on editing were inadequate:
Yahoo! continues to employ grammatically challenged staffers. Is it so hard to match a subject (like, oh, say, maybe recommendations) and a verb (like were)? Is it so hard to find writers who can do that?
Apparently it is hard. Because here’s another verb flop from this morning’s yahoo.com:
The subject of that sentence is one, and it’s singular because, well, because it is one. It takes takes as a verb. The editor must have been on a lunch break when that got posted.
OK, so I made up that stat. I don’t know what percentage of people have a problem with grammar. Unless we’re talking about the people who write for the Yahoo! front page. Then I’d guess that it’s three out of three people:
Clearly someone (or someones) didn’t know that the subject of that sentence is one, and one is singular and therefore takes the singular verb has.
It shouldn’t be surprising that when people starting using they, their, and them to refer to an individual whose gender was unknown to the writer that there would come a time that those pronouns would be used for an individual whose gender was apparent. That time has come and the place is Yahoo! Style:
Did the writer use their instead of her because she didn’t know the mother was a female or because the writer didn’t know that a pronoun should agree with its antecedent?
Regardless of what they might think at yahoo.com, readers aren’t interested in the cheapest and most expensive beer prices, they’re interested in the cheapest and most expensive beer, except for people like me who don’t care for beer or football:
Everyone, including me, likes a verb matched to its subject, so we’re not crazy about the use of varies (which should be vary) because the subject (cost and size) is plural.