How many can you find?

Here’s a fun game brought to you by Yahoo! Makers. How many homophonic errors can you find in a single article on the site? It’s really not hard to spot the pales instead of pails:

palettes diy 0

Searching for homophones, you’ll pass a totally random comma, followed by a totally random capitalized Chief. The split backyard isn’t the worst mistake you’ll come across on the way to the palettes that should be pallets.

palettes diy 1

You might not notice this (but I did): That paragraph claims the article was written by someone working for Katie Brown. But one look at the article’s byline says otherwise:

palettes brown

Oopsie. Don’t you love it when you catch a writer in a lie?

Back to our homophone hunt: Passing the now one-word backyard, you’re bound to find an error that even your kids can spot:

palettes diy 11

Overlooking the incorrectly capitalized plywood, you’ll find another palettes:

palettes 22

This is where you’ll find the next homophonic horror, a confusion of where for wear:

palettes diy 3

Holy moley, there’s another palettes and a comma where a semicolon belongs:

palettes diy 4

One more palettes? This has got to be the last:

palettes diy 5

Nope. There’s one more and a little advice, which I take to mean “pallets that are the same height”:

palettes diy 6

How many did you find? I found these four: Pales/pails. Palettes/pallets. You’re/your. Where/wear. What about you?

How is that a question?

How could that be a question?

fp how lost

If the brain trust at the Yahoo! front page had written “How is body heat lost?” — that would be a question.

Back off the punctuation!

Here’s something you don’t see often, three consecutive punctuation marks:

colon parent

I don’t know the thinking behind all those little symbols on Yahoo! Parenting, but at least one of them is in the wrong place. If the writer insists on using both quotation marks and a colon, then the colon should go after the closing quotation mark. It is one of two punctuation characters that always go after a closing quotation mark in the U.S.; the other is the semicolon.

That’s not where it goes

Where does the question mark go? Not where they put it on the Yahoo! front page:

fp interview quest quot

Unless the question is Interview?, then the question mark belongs after the closing quotation mark.

Wondering how you keep your job

This is what I’m wondering: How the heck did this writer get a job with Yahoo! Style? Clearly this guy has a limited grasp of English:

wondering for more

It’s not the use of a comma instead of an em-dash or a semicolon, which is what should be used to join two independent clauses. It’s the whole “wondering for more” that has me wondering if English is his first language. And makes me wonder why there’s no editor to clean up his dribblings before they’re posted.

No wonder the writing is so bad

If I were lucky enough to be an editor in chief, you can bet I wouldn’t be making the same mistakes made by the head of Yahoo! DIY:

if i was lucky

Anyone wondering why the writing on DIY is so amateurish should consider that this little paragraph was written by the editor in chief of the website. If she doesn’t care about the quality of her own writing, why would she care about the quality of the musings of others?

Just in case someone from Yahoo! DIY is reading this, here’s the scoop: You should use the subjunctive mood for statements that are not factual; hence, were (not was) is the correct verb. In English, we capitalize the pronoun I. And finally, if you’re not asking a question, don’t conclude a sentence with a question mark.

Everyone needs an editor. Even an editor in chief.

One shopper, many bodies?

Can one person have more than one body? And can a department store survive with only one shopper? These are the questions that have plagued me since reading this on Yahoo! Style:

shoppers style

‘Tis true: ‘Tis not ’tis

If you know that ’tis is a contraction of it is, then you understand the need for the apostrophe. If you have no idea what ’tis means, you’ll omit the apostrophe, like the writer for Yahoo! Style did:

tis women style

If you’re a grown woman, you should appreciate the utility of the apostrophe. You should also appreciate the difference between woman and women.

Do you need a second costume?

So, you already have your Halloween costume. You’re going to your BFF’s party as a slutty slut. But the boss just announced that everyone must come to work in costume on October 31. Your slutty slut is kinda NSFW. You need a second costume! Don’t panic. The creative minds at Yahoo! DIY have ten second costumes; one is sure to be just right:

10 second costumes diy

But wait! There’s more! Each of these costumes can be made in less than a minute. In fact, you might call them “10-Second Costumes.”

What a difference a hyphen makes.

It took a whole team to write this badly?

Here’s a shocking admission from Yahoo! Style: This article, and all its errors, was written by “Yahoo Style Editors.” Apparently it takes more than one editor to screw up this badly. In general first ladies doesn’t get capital-letter treatment (at least according to most authorities, including the Associated Press). And no authority would OK the use of an apostrophe in the plural houses. (But no article from Style would be complete without at least one apostrophe in a plural):

fl 1

One of those “Yahoo Style Editors” really ought to be able to spell the name of every U.S. president, so one of them should be able to spell every president’s wife’s name, too. Like Nancy Reagan:

fl 2

I kinda think that’s inexcusable. And I’m horrified that the writers think that Hillary Clinton was inaugurated in 1997. She never had her own inauguration. She did, however, attend her husband’s 1997 inauguration.

Those “editors” could use a little tutelage in the use of a spell-checker:

fl 3

Lordie, lordie. Doesn’t anyone in the group of “Yahoo Style Editors” know how to spell? Or use a dictionary? Or a spell-checker?

fl 4

And finally there’s just one more lie they have to tell. (It’s probably not a lie so much as an inability for the combined brains of “Yahoo Style Editors” to understand words of more than two syllables.) Mrs. Clinton did not wear an embellished gown to her husband’s second term ceremony. She wore one to her husband’s second-term Inaugural Ball.

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