Apostrophe-impaired?

Is there a shortage of apostrophes at Yahoo Lifestyle? Or is it just a shortage of editors who know how to use them? Here’s a headline and teaser that has me questioning if Yahoo hires only apostrophe- and spelling-impaired editors:

OK. So that was just a careless mistake (or two or three). The actual article must be better, right? Wrong. Those folks at Yahoo are still apostrophe-impaired, unable to put them in two places in one sentence:

Let’s take the charitable view that this is just a typo and not the result of a writer’s unfamiliarity with a common expression like “fill it up”:

I’d overlook this mistake (just like the writer overlooked the word to before walk), if it were the only goof, but alas, it’s not:

Another apostrophe goes missing here, but maybe it’s just the result of a malfunctioning keyboard:

But, wait! There’s more! After I wrote this post, the headline and teaser were corrected. Somewhat:

It looks like the editors noticed the missing apostrophe and the typo. Good job! Maybe next time they’ll learn to use a spell-checker and proofread before publishing. If not, I may just harass them some more.

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Apostrophe catastrophe

The editors at Yahoo News have gone apostrophe-happy. Maybe they think an apostrophe is needed after every plural noun:

Why they would add an apostrophe to veterans is a mystery to me, especially since the name of the facility is Veterans Home of California (sans apostrophe). But adding an unnecessary apostrophe to what looks like a possessive is a common mistake at Yahoo. A mistake that can be avoided by following this advice from the Associated Press Stylebook:

Do not add an apostrophe to a word ending in s when it is used primarily in a descriptive
sense: citizens band radio, a Cincinnati Reds infielder, a teachers college, a Teamsters request, a writers guide.

Memory Aid: The apostrophe usually is not used if for or by rather than of would be appropriate in the longer
form: a radio band for citizens, a college for teachers, a guide for writers, a request by the Teamsters.

So, in the case of that headline, it’s a home for veterans and therefore, a veterans home.

Even more mystifying is the apostrophe in months. I imagine the editors thought it was like the quasi possessives one year’s salary, two weeks’ notice, or seven years’ experience. It is not. Quasi possessive expressions involve measurement (such as a length of time or amount of money) and a noun. The expression 7 months pregnant includes a length of time and an adjective and there’s just no possessin’ an adjective.

(If you’re trying to figure out if you’re faced with a quasi possessive requiring an apostrophe, take a look at my memory aid here.)

 

 

Feeling the stress

It must have been a stressful weekend over at the editor’s desk at yahoo.com. Maybe that’s why the editors missed the missing apostrophe here:

Or failed to recognize that schoolyard is one word:

Someone should demand to know why a typo like this slipped through the spell-checker:

(Oh, yeah. I forgot. Yahoo editors don’t use spell-checkers. Or proofreaders.)

No spell-checker would have caught this perfectly spelled bit of nonsense:

I have no idea what that was supposed to be. Can anyone translate it for me?

A couple of S’s?

It’s become almost a daily occurrence at Yahoo! Style: the inability to form possessive of a plural noun:

What the heck is so hard about this? If you’re writing about one couple, it’s couple’s. If more than one couple, it’s couples’. If you’re really confused, it’s couples’s and it’s wrong.

While I’m pondering the reason for that common mistake, perhaps you’ll solve another mystery for me: Why did the writer (and presumably her editor) refer to a boy with the pronoun her? Is this a transgender thing?

Not to be confused with imaginary bodies

I’m not surprised anymore when I see that writers for Yahoo! Style have no idea how to make a possessive out of a plural noun. It happens nearly every day:

So, the writer and editor didn’t know that athletes’s makes no sense (they should have written athletes’). What surprises me is the fact that they thought they needed to make it clear that it was physical bodies, and not imaginary bodies, that are the focus of “microagressions” (they should have written microaggressions).

You got people’s attention

The writer over at Yahoo! Style got my attention with this attempt to form a possessive:

She may have gotten other people’s attention, too. At least the attention of those who know that people is a plural noun and you form the possessive of a plural noun not ending in S with an apostrophe followed by an S: Like women’s, children’s, men’s, and people’s.

Confused about plural possessives?

Nobody knew that forming a plural possessive was so complicated! Nobody! OK, so maybe everybody knew it was pretty simple except the folks at Yahoo! Style, who seem to be confused:

I know that you know that the plural of Kardashian is Kardashians and possessive of the plural Kardashians is Kardashians‘.

It’s not editors’ rules

There are rules to writing that we all try to follow so that we communicate clearly and so that we don’t look like idiots to our readers. These are not editors’ rules; they are language rules. And there’s one that’s just been broken on Yahoo! Style:

The plural of parent is parents; the possessive of parents is parents’. I think that means that parents’s is the singular possessive of the plural parents. Or maybe it just means the writer has no idea what she’s doing.

Hedging her bets

Not sure how to form the possessive of kids? Not sure if the apostrophe goes before or after the S? Do what the writer for Yahoo! Style did and hedge your bets: Put the apostrophe before and after it:

What if there were triplets?

If the possessive of single is single’s, and the possessive of twins is twins’s (at least according to Yahoo! Style), is the  possessive of triplet, triplets’s’s?

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