I have a question for the editors at Yahoo! Finance: Who the heck edited this? Anyone?
Am I supposed to mail my taxes to Yahoo!? Not a chance. If the intent was to tell readers to email a question, then them should be it.
This is a message to whoever wrote this for Yahoo! Finance: You used the wrong pronoun.
Although it looks like you’re dealing with the object of the preposition to, you’re not. The entire clause starting with whomever lasts… is the object of the preposition. The writer should have used whoever, which is the subject of the verb lasts.
Here’s a good rule from grammarbook.com:
The presence of whoever or whomever indicates a dependent clause. Use whoever or whomever to agree with the verb in that dependent clause, regardless of the rest of the sentence.
When writers drop their article off at their editor’s desk, the last thing they want to think about is the likelihood of its containing grammatical errors. At least one Yahoo! Beauty didn’t think about grammar (or her reader) when she wrote this:
According to that excerpt, parents — not the daughter — are the ones living at dorms — not a dorm. It takes a special kind of determined reader (like moi) to try to decipher that sentence and ascertain what caused the train wreck. It’s pretty simple: the wrong pronoun (it should be her, not their) and a wrong plural (it should be dorm).
Let’s run through this one more time for the folks at Yahoo! Style: If you’re unsure of the spelling of a word, consult a dictionary. If a word looks funny (like, oh, say, maybe throughs), consult a dictionary:
If the writer had done that, she might have seen that run-throughs is a noun requiring a hyphen. Just in case incidents like this happen to arise, editors can cut them out and replace them with the correct word. Editors can also be sure pronouns (like them, not it) match their antecedents (which in this case is incidents).
Ever since the grammar gods choose to look the over way when writers used the plural pronouns they and their to refer to a single person of unknown gender, it was bound to have unintended and ungrammatical consequences. And here’s the proof from Yahoo! Style:
The pronouns their refer to one male and both should be his.
After reading this on yahoo.com, I can’t figure out which players were fined:
Were all WNBA players fined? It seems unlikely, but I’m hard-pressed to find any other singular noun that could be the antecedent for its. It’s more likely that the players on three teams were fined. If that’s the case, it’s clear that the writer should have referred to their players.
To whoever is reading this: The Yahoo! Sports writer is confused about the use of whomever (which is the objective case of whoever and is used as the object of a preposition) and whoever (which can be the subject of a verb like was listening):
This writer isn’t alone in his confusion. To many people, it appears that whomever is the object of the preposition to, but it’s the entire clause that’s the object of the preposition. And whoever should be the subject of the verb in that clause.
If you’re not into being grammatically nitpicky and you’re faced with the choice between who and whom or whoever and whomever, go with who or whoever. In more the half the cases, you’ll be correct, and even if you’re wrong, your writing will sound more authentic and less stilted and formal.