Fun with photo captions

I’m thinking of starting a regular feature on Terribly Write. I’ll call it “Fun With Photo Captions” and display my favorite recent photo-and-caption combo from Yahoo!.

I’d probably start with a photo from Yahoo! Shine, like this one from the movie “Pretty in Pink”:


And the brilliant caption that accompanies the photo:

lapel 2

Don’t you just love it when a writer is describing fashion but can’t tell a scarf from a lace hankie or a lapel from a pocket?

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Star Jones and a pronoun

Someone must have been in a hurry to publish this article on Yahoo! Shine. There was no time to look up the actual name of the co-host of “The View,” so the writer just made up a first and last name:

mccarthy 1

The woman’s name is Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

At least the writer got a bit closer when hammering out Star Jones (though she’s sticking with Hasselback):

mccarthy 2

And there was no time for a grammar check to ensure that all pronouns agree with their antecedent — or at the very least have an antecedent:

mccarthy 3

The horror has spread

In what I thought was the misguided writing of an immature scribbler, a writer for Yahoo! Shine wrote page after page of photo captions without benefit of capital letters. The result was impossible to read. The impression was horrifying: Who would pay the writer, Piper Weiss, to abuse the language and the reader with such self-indulgent nonsense?

I thought it was an aberration. I was wrong. It seems that the new style for Yahoo! Shine does not require the writer to employ the Shift key on her keyboard. Here’s the latest group of photo captions, written by Lylah M. Alphonse:

lep 1

lep 2

lep 3

lep 4

lep 5

Interestingly, the only expression shown the respect due a proper noun is “The Associated Press.” Maybe Ms. Alphonse’s wrangling for a new job. Who could blame her?

It’s finally come to this

It’s finally come to this — writing by a professional that resembles the peckings of a 12-year-old tweeting to other illiterate pre-teens. No longer is the capital letter necessary. No longer is the Shift key on the keyboard utilized. Every single one of this words circled in red should be capitalized:

bans shine 1

The article contains 35 photo captions, all devoid of capital letters like this one:

bans shine 3

There are other mistakes, too, but none as egregious and juvenile as these. I think we’ve now seen a new low in writing from Yahoo! Shine.

Lame dame name

There’s a lame spelling of Dame Judi Dench’s name on Yahoo! Shine:

name judy dench

It’s no doubt the result of a writer so sure of her spelling ability that she didn’t think she had to Goggle Dame Judi’s name. She was wrong.

It’s just too much

The things you learn on Yahoo! Shine! I had no idea that designer Karl Lagerfeld made his runway debut in 2010 — alongside his father, who must be 100 years old, in light of the fact that little Karl is 79:

model 1

When not gleaning inside info on the world of Paris fashion, I find the most amusing use of apostrophes here, where the writer uses a contraction in place of a possessive pronoun:

model 2

and here where she thinks an apostrophe can be used to form a plural:

model 3

I guess if you’re a writer in an industry that takes itself seriously, you’d be sure to match a verb to its subject. But if you’re a writer for Yahoo!, grammar rules are meant to be broken:

model 4

But any exposure to rules of grammar has its cost:

model 5

In the case of this writer, the cost is mental overload. It’s just too much to remember: It’s means it is or it has. Its is the possessive pronoun. It’s just too much.

Bad spelling, bursting mouth, bold prediction

There’s hardly more you could cram into a single photo caption: a misspelled Mulberry, a roof of the mouth that “seemed to pop,” and a prediction for the far distant future:


The next time this Yahoo! Shine writer is looking for a colorful word, she should dip her pen in a new palette.

A way with words

Some writers have a way with words. They know how to create images, how to create moods, how to create excitement. This is not one of those writers. She writes for Yahoo! Shine, which is not exactly like writing for the National Review, or even the National Enquirer.

She’s written an article about Sophia Loren, who at 78 years old is still a great beauty. And who somehow proves that beauty isn’t wasted on the young. So that means that the young make good use of beauty? Or that there are no young beauties? I actually have no idea what this is supposed to mean:

But that’s not all. Ms. Loren was attending an event with some models from the 1920s:

At least I think the apostrophe means that some numbers (like “19”) are missing. The arbitrary comma is the kind of mistake this writer often makes.

On the red carpet, all eyes were posing with actors while simultaneously focusing on Ms. Loren:

Hey, that sentence may have a misplaced modifier, but at least it had a verb. That’s more than can be said for this collection of words:

Yes, this writer has a way with words. The wrong way.

Slicing and boning a sycophant

It sounds like a heinous crime from “Silence of the Lambchops”: fileting a minion. Fileting (also spelled filleting) involves slicing and boning meat. When it involves a minion (or an obsequious follower or sycophant), then we’re into the realm of cannibalistic horrors.

I can’t bear to think about that; I’ll just consider that the Yahoo! Shine writer doesn’t know a minion from a mignon.

That’s probably the worst misspelling ever. So this misspelling of Philadelphia isn’t so bad:

But how did that slip past the spell-checker? Oh, yeah, Yahoo! writers don’t use a spell-checker. They also don’t understand that polar ideas are just cold ideas. Polar opposite ideas are at opposite ends of a spectrum (and not different sides of a spectrum).

Bear in mind, the writer of this article is a professional:

This is a long way from correct:

If only there was a way…

If only there was a way writers could find the information they need, when they need it. Like, if they were writing about a book, wouldn’t it be great if they could have the book right in front of them? That way, they could be sure to get the book’s title right.

But what if the book hasn’t been published yet? How could you be sure you have the title right? I know! I know! If you had a picture of the book, you could look at the picture!

Or, you could do what the writer for Yahoo! Shine did, and just make up a title:

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