A Yahoo! Style editor’s worst punctuation moment may have come when he or she omitted a teensy apostrophe in what should be a possessive:
I guess elementary schools don’t teach the same things nowadays that they did when I was a youngster. Of course, that was many, many decades ago, but I thought there were some subjects that were eternal. Like how to form the plural of nouns. Judging from this excerpt from Yahoo! Style, schools are neglecting that bit of knowledge — or the writer was playing hooky that day:
The possessive plural of lady is ladies’. It follows a simple rule: Form the plural of the noun and if it ends in S, add an apostrophe. So, it’s idiots’ and dummies’. If the plural doesn’t end in S, add an apostrophe and S: So women’s, children’s, and alumni’s are correct.
Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for the presidency, but you wouldn’t know it if you read this on Yahoo! Style:
As a common noun, democratic refers to a democracy or people in general. But if you’re referring to the political party in the U.S., it’s Democratic, with a big D.
Speaking of a big D, that’s the grade I’d give this writer for coming up with Clintons’s. I’d be appalled if I hadn’t seen that error so often on Yahoo!. It seems Yahoo! writers (and their editors, if they have them) don’t know that the plural of Clinton is Clintons and the possessive of Clintons is Clintons‘.
If well-educated editors overlooked this error on Yahoo! Style, their friends’ and families’ faces would fall to the floor:
I’m assuming that the friends and families (there’s probably more than one family involved) have separated faces, so there needs to be an apostrophe after the S on both friends’ and families’.
The editor for Yahoo! Style should head back to elementary school to learn the importance of the apostrophe:
Without the correct punctuation (and that would be two apostrophes), that headline leaves me scratching my head and dusting the dandruff off my keyboard. Were one girl’s outfits responsible for one boy’s bad grades? Or were many girls’ outfits responsible for many boys’ grades? Or was it one girl’s outfits and many boys’ grades? Or many girls’ outfits and one boy’s grades? Oy, now I’ve got a headache. I think I have to go lay down.
If you’re one of those readers who cringes when you encounter a typo or — horrors!— a grammatical error, you’ll want to skip this article on Yahoo! Style. The writer seems to have a problem with a common rule we all learned in third grade:
Perhaps the writer didn’t know if she was writing about one star (and therefore should use star’s) or more than one (requiring stars’). So, she combined the possessives into misguided mashup.
Did the Yahoo! Style writer suffer a brain aneurysm or just writer’s block when it came to writing this?
She was probably wondering if she should have used the singular sport’s or the plural sports’ and couldn’t make up her mind, so she did a little melding. Or maybe she just has no idea how to form the possessive of a noun. ‘Cuz she made the same mistake in a photo caption:
How many errors can be squeezed into a single sentence? If it’s on Yahoo! Style, at least four, each of which is completely avoidable:
If you’re writing about people, the preferred pronoun is who or whom, not which. There’s an apostrophe missing in what should be brand’s. And of course there are two misspelled names: Missy Elliott and Cara Delevingne.