Is it ‘marvelous’?

No, but it should be. The folks at Yahoo! News don’t seem to realize that the question is not marvelous.

What was your favorite ‘boneheaded error’?

When it comes to picking the worst error found on Yahoo!, I just can’t decide. This is actually not one of the most egregious, it’s just one of the most common and today it’s on Yahoo! Music:

The question mark belongs after the closing quotation mark because the entire sentence is a question. The words within the quotes don’t form a question. But you knew that.

How many parents?

Was it Jordy Nelson’s mom or dad who owned the diner the footballer worked in? According to an editor on the Yahoo! front page it was just one parent’s restaurant; according to the facts, it was two parents’ diner:

Is everyone out of the office?

I think the regular editors over at the Yahoo! front page have left the building. Amateurs seem to have taken control of yahoo.com, making more than the usual number of mistakes.

I’m guessin’ that the B-team consisted of third-grade dropouts who left school before the lesson on forming the possessive women’s:

It must have been the same day that the teacher covered the subject of proper nouns (the ones that need a big letter) and common nouns (like caucus):

OK, maybe I shouldn’t expect a third-grade dropout to know the difference between a fiancé (who is male) and a fiancée (who is female), so this is forgivable, right?

Randomness on yahoo.com

It’s just a bunch of random embarrassments on the Yahoo! front page, one of the busiest pages in the entire Interwebs.

First up: Netwon, which I presume to be a typo for Newton:

Next: A misplaced question mark, which belongs after that single quotation mark because “Spielberg face” isn’t a question:

And finally, a really sad comparison of jobs to people with associate’s degrees:

Maybe the writer meant: Workers such as ultrasound techs can make more than the average associate’s degree holder. Maybe.

It’s a collapse of the language

A wrong word, a homophonous horror, and misplaced punctuation all in a single sentence? Yup. And you’ll find it on Yahoo! Finance‘s “The Daily Ticker”:

The sentence collapses with accompany (which should be accompanying), its (which should be it’s, which means it is in this context), and a comma that belongs before the closing quotation mark (in the States).

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.

Why I don’t trust you

A study a few years ago (which makes it ancient in Internet time) revealed that typos, grammatical errors, and the like eroded a Web site’s credibility. So, it wasn’t unexpected that I was skeptical of what I was reading in the first two paragraphs of an article on Yahoo! Shine

The breakup of stateside didn’t make me feel any better:

A misplaced period (in the US, it goes before the closing quotation mark) and a missing article.  That misplaced hyphen changed Shiloh Jolie-Pitt to a little girl whose first name is Shiloh-Jolie (which is kinda cute). Now I’m really questioning the reliability of the whole article.

This one had me scratching my head and dusting dandruff off my keyboard: Did Carla’s baby have four stepbrothers and stepsisters? Or four stepbrothers and some unknown number of sisters? It was pretty easy to confirm that there’s no hyphen in stepbrother. But what about the sisters? They exist only in the mind of the author. As do the stepbrothers. Turns out, the newborn has four half-brothers. But that’s almost like sisters, right?

An overhyphenated overexposure and an unnecessary comma just make me feel more uneasy about trusting this writer:

I was unaware that the French froth over other countries. It seems so out of character for the Gauls.

Frothing Frenchmen, a misnamed toddler, nonexistent sisters. See? I told you not to trust typo-riddled articles.

Red-pen-worthy error

I haven’t a clue what “worthy-hasselbacks” are, but I’m sure they’re delish. Yum-o, even.

I might prefer dinner-party-worthy hasselbacks, though that would be too many hyphens for my taste. And I’m kinda sick of the whole -worthy addition to words. If I were the editor for the Yahoo! Shinewriter, I’d recommend “hasselbacks that are worthy of a dinner party.” That would really be yum-o.

It’s nothing to sneeze at

If you’re a professional writer or editor, using correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar is nothing to sneeze at. Try not to follow the example on Yahoo! Shine, where the senior features editor neglected to include a comma after the state, misplaced another comma (it goes before the closing quotation mark), omitted a word, and misspelled Steve Cuckovich:

What’s so bad about “bad punctuation”? It makes you look ignorant, careless, or dim. Or maybe even all three.

So, when you’re looking to place a question mark following some words in quotation marks, ask yourself: Is the stuff in the quotes a question? No? Then put the question mark after the closing quotation mark. Easy peasy.

Also make sure you don’t omit any words and don’t include more words than you need. If you do, you’ll spark complaints from your readers. Finally, make sure you know that in the U.S., a comma or period goes before a closing quotation mark.

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