Won followed by another

Here’s one major gaffe from Yahoo! Style, followed by a complete headscratcher:

won sty

Why do Yahoo! writers and editors have so much trouble with forming the possessive of a plural noun? It’s simple: coworkers is the plural; coworkers‘ is the possessive.

Here’s an idea for when you’re bored

Here’s a quick DIY for the Yahoo! Makers editor for when she’s bored at her parents’ house waiting for Thanksgiving Dinner: Let some basic, fourth-grade grammar focusing on the use of the apostrophe to form possessives:

parents diy

It takes a team

It took a team Yahoo! Style staffers to come up with this ridiculously wrong possessive of the plural noun models:

modelss sty

Apparently there was some disagreement in this brain trust as to where the apostrophe goes — before or after the S. So that put it before and after an S. (Just in case someone on the Style staff is reading this, here’s the scoop: the possessive of models is models’.)

Zendaya’s dog goes to heaven…

Zendaya’s dog goes to heaven, and at the keyboard of writers for Yahoo! Celebrity, the English language goes to hell:

teenss diy

What the heck is that? Is the writer hedging his bets, trying to make a possessive out of both a singular and plural noun, because he doesn’t know which to use?

It would still be wrong

Even if the writer for Yahoo! Celebrity had managed to come up with the correct possessive of the plural Cosbys (it’s Cosbys’) this would still be wrong:

cosbyss cel

Why? Because the characters in question aren’t the Cosbys. They’re the Huxtables!

Confused about plural possessives?

Do you ever get confused about forming the possessive of a plural noun? Where does that apostrophe go? Before or after the S? If you find yourself in a quandary over possessives, just do what the writer for Yahoo! Celebrity did: Put in an extra S so that you can place that apostrophe before and after an S:

sisterss apos cel

Writers’ mistakes like this happen all the time on Yahoo!.

How many peoples were there?

There were some peoples at New York Fashion Week, according to Yahoo! Style:

peoples heads apos sty

That got me wondering: What peoples were they? The peoples of the United States? The peoples of Southeast Asia? Or some other group of human beings sharing a common culture or language?

Hmmm. Could it be that the writer misplaced that apostrophe? People is already a plural noun; its possessive is people’s.

A couple is singular

A couple may consist of two people, but as a noun, it’s singular. Forget you saw this misplaced apostrophe on yahoo.com, which implies that there was more than one couple but only two people:

fp couples apos

Reverse that!

The writer for Yahoo! Style should consider reversing her knowledge of apostrophes: Wherever she thinks she needs one, she should omit it. And wherever she omitted an apostrophe, she should add one:

stores no apos sty

A word that’s not right

English is funny. And challenging. It provides lots of words for lots of circumstances. But it’s also missing a few words that would be of benefit to writers and readers. One of those missing words is a possessive form of the word that. (Make that two missing words; which doesn’t have a possessive form either.) But that didn’t stop the writer for Yahoo! Autos from trying to come up with one — and failing:

car thats auto

The writer might have used whose: a car whose value is beginning to soar. But that might have set off alarm bells among grammarians who feel who and whose cannot be applied to non-humans. What’s a writer to do? Recast the sentence. One of these might have worked:

  • a car with a value that’s beginning to soar
  • when the car’s value is beginning to soar
  • a car the value of which is beginning to soar

Each of those options is slightly longer, slightly different in meaning, or slightly awkward. But none of those would have appeared in Terribly Write.


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