Let’s pretend you know what it means

Let’s change this word on Yahoo! Parenting so that it’s correct:

lets parent

It needs an apostrophe to indicate the omission of a letter. Few people (especially those under the age of a dinosaur) know that let’s is a contraction of let us.

Ack! I’m running out of red ink!

Few things irk me more than really bad writing by people who are paid to write. Unless it’s management that allows really bad writing to be published. And one indication of bad writing is the amount of red ink I bleed on a page. So, this article from Yahoo! Style is really bad and I’m really irked.

Omitting a hyphen from an age is a relatively minor, but totally unnecessary, mistake:

bush 1

Using the wrong word? Not minor mistake in my opinion, although I alternately agree and disagree that the writer should be taken out behind to the woodshed:

bush 2

It’s hard to imagine a writer confusing alternatively with alternately. With mistakes like that, this writer will never receive the acclaim of legitimate writers, unless she acquires the services of a competent editor:

bush 3

Her word choice continues to be sketchy at best: No, didgeridoos and balalaikas are not a few instruments, they are two instruments:

bush 4

More red ink! I need more red ink! Or at least an explanation for why there’s a the in front of Bush’s mystique but none in front of performer, why she didn’t put the only in front of the word it modifies (which is one), why it’s not an accidental death, and why this writer can’t match a verb (which should be have kept) to its subject:

bush 5

Just how old is a bohemian? And is a “slight bohemian age” like dog-years?

bush 6

I guess we should expect a writer who doesn’t know the difference between a bohemian age and a bohemian edge to care about spelling a name correctly, like Clare Waight Keller:

bush 7

Are you still with me? If so, then you got to the best of the worst word usages of all times: the blouses with the bellowing sleeves. I’ve heard of loud prints, but never loud sleeves. I wonder if they’re red.

Coat and boots star as a Columbia professor

I don’t know how they do it! Those creative Hollywood types manage to get a beige coat and knee-high boots to play a Columbia professor:

playing prof style

If I were the cynical type, I might think that sentence is a tad misleading. And full of errors. Fact is, Julianne Moore plays the professor; the coat and boots don’t even have a speaking part in the movie. The boots are actually knee-high and the coat and boots give Julianne her academic look.

To make that sentence somewhat intelligible, you have to get rid of the misplaced modifier (that’s the phrase at the beginning of the sentence) by moving the word it modifies:

Playing a Columbia professor who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, Julianne gets her academic look from the beige coat and knee-high boots.

Look at the f***ing picture!

So, the writer for Yahoo! Shine is creating a headline slash photo caption and doesn’t look at the photo? That’s what it looks like to me:

flyers no apos shine

If only the writer had considered that maybe, perhaps, perchance the apostrophe in the picture is correct, then maybe, perhaps, perchance there’d be one in the headline/caption. Ya’ think?

A little different from correct

Readers’ opinion of this is a little different from most yahoo.com staffers’.

fp little different

The comparison that’s here is between an 11-year-old’s first day of school and most kids. But it should be between an 11-year-old’s first day of school and most kids’ first day of school. To accomplish that, the writer should have included an apostrophe with kids. And should have used “different from” instead of “different than.”

Think a hyphen doesn’t matter?

If you think that a hyphen doesn’t carry much weight in writing, think again. Readers of Yahoo! Shine are treated to real-life proof that the silly little mark can change 18-year-old embryos into 18 one-year-old embryos:

18 year-old

And omitting the hyphen isn’t the only boneheaded mistake the writer made. According to the article, the woman in question used two 19-year-old frozen embryos. But now I quibble.

One group of journalists The Post writers don’t worry about

Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com has purchased The Washington Post. Employees of The Post may be worried about losing their jobs, but they won’t be losing them to the editorial staff at Yahoo! News. The Post has higher standards than this:

news the post

When I read “the 90s” I wasn’t sure if the writer was referring to the temperature or a decade. If it’s the latter, then it needs an apostrophe to indicate missing digits: ’90s. The failure to capitalize the in the newspaper’s name (it’s in the paper’s masthead, so it’s part of its name) is not likely to be overlooked by The Post’s editors. And the failure to capitalize The Post? Well, that’s just dumb.

Flexing his weight

Why is it so difficult? I really don’t understand how a professional writer can tap out a city and state and not put at least the comma between them. But that’s what the writer/editor for Yahoo! Sports‘ “Prep Rally” did:

coppell texas no com sports pr

But what can you expect from someone who misspells Aliso Viejo and thinks that flexing weight makes sense?

coppell texas no com sports pr 0

Maybe it’s a cross between a huckleberry and a boysenberry

The Yahoo! front page recently offered some examples of what not to do for all aspiring writers and editors.

First example: Reread your writing make sure that there’s no missing words:

fp looks an interesting

Verify the spelling of all cities and counties to make sure there’s no missing apostrophe:

fp prince georges

If you’re bored, dream up new spellings for towns like Bucklebury:

fp buckleberry

Go take a Flying Jeep

Is there some law against using punctuation in a headline? Is that why the writer for Yahoo! Sports‘ “Prep Rally” omitted the comma after Dubois and the hyphen in off-road?

jeep sports pr 1

Whatever everpresent means to the writer, it means little or nothing to the reader. Maybe he thinks it means “always in existence,” in which case, it certainly doesn’t apply to any automobile. Technically (and grammatically) speaking, who should be used to refer to human beings only and not to some comic strip character with a tail. Wouldn’t it be great if the writer had looked at the picture he included with the article before deciding to call the mascot “Flying Jeeps”?

jeep sports pr 2

Perhaps if the writer knew how to pronounce cache (it’s just like cash), he would have chosen a more appropriate word, like cachet (which is pronounced cashay):

jeep sports pr 3

I think there’s a word missing here, but I have no idea what it is:

jeep sports pr 4

Once in a while a set of errors happens to land in a single paragraph. One of those errors is a subject-verb disagreement and the others involve the spelling of Merrillville:

jeep sports pr 5

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