Warning: Profanity ahead

Warning: This headline from Yahoo News contains content unsuitable for children:

Lots of news outlets are now including the profane words of America’s current president, as if it were acceptable speech. But most of them are also using correct grammar and are able to match a verb and its subject. Some of them also follow standard guidelines and don’t capitalize the word senator unless it directly precedes a senator’s name.

Time for capital punishment

If there were a punishment for not using the Shift key at the correct time, the editors for Yahoo! News would be serving 7 to 10 in the Grammar Slammer.

They’d get a citation just for not capitalizing church when it’s combined with Catholic:

news catholic church lc

Some Capitalization Cop would cite them for capitalizing senator when it doesn’t precede the name of the senator:

news cap senator

and for capitalizing cocaine:

news cocaine cap

Holy Moley! Do the editors not know that Holy Land is a proper noun?

news holy land lc

At least the editors knew enough to capitalize Assad:

news pro cap

Unfortunately they didn’t know enough to not capitalize pro.

What are their editors doing?

Hello? Is there anyone at home at Yahoo! Shine? I mean, like a real writer, editor, or proofreader? Anyone? Do you think Shine’s writers are sitting around wondering what their editors are doing? Because they aren’t editing:

Clearly, there’s no one proofreading this article — at least no one who knows when to capitalize a word:

Capitalize letters really do have a purpose. They can signal a proper noun (like Republican) and distinguish it from a common noun (like senator).

Right now, a writer who wants to produce grammatically correct prose has no one to turn to. There’s no one to tell her when her verb doesn’t match her subject, or when words (like password-protected) need a hyphen:

No one’s watching the store; no one who could point out that some mashups just don’t work:

What their editors doing? Do they even have editors?

A senator gets a capital treatment

But it’s wrong. The Yahoo! front page incorrectly capitalizes senator — not once, but twice:

The title should be capitalized only when it directly precedes a name.

A senator gets the capital treatment

When does a senator get the capital treatment? Only when the title directly precedes the senator’s name. Yahoo! TV gives an undeserved cap to the word:

Senator TV hp

Senators get capital treatment

Not that they deserve it. The Yahoo! front page elevated the word senator to a proper noun:


The folks on Capitol Hill get a capital S only when the word senator appears directly before the senator’s name.

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