The real Twitter problem

When an Internet giant makes a mistake in a headline on its front page, it’s impossible to ignore:

The real problem is the misuse of a trademark. When referring to the social network, Twitter is a trademark deserving a capital letter.


Fewer words, more screw-ups

Yahoo! just revealed a redesign of, and it’s really, really ugly. But, there are much fewer words on the page written by Yahoo! staffers, and that’s a good thing. But, there’s enough words for them to screw up, and that’s not a good thing:

fp twiiter

You can’t do it twice?

If you can spell Twitter correctly once, don’t you think you could do it twice? Uh, no. Not if you write for the Yahoo! front page:

This is not pretty

I’m not responsible for the teeny weeny type or its pale color in these excerpts. I think that it’s a way to discourage you from actually reading the article on Yahoo! Shine. I wish I had taken the hint, because what I discovered was not pretty.

I could never in four score and seven years understand omitting a comma (or two) in “red, white, and blue.” Just like I will never understand why the writer thinks twitter is a common noun. I suppose to some tween-age mind twee-ful makes sense. Maybe I don’t get it because I am old.

Sections of the flag code are numbered with real numbers, not spelled-out numbers. And “Eek!” is what a cartoon character says when she sees a mouse. Maybe the writer is trying to eke out a little attention with her creative use of the language:

Again with the dropped commas? Why?

The man’s name is William Moulton Marston, not this:

Wonder Woman carried the Lasso of Truth. I figured that out on my own. But I don’t know what the rest of the sentence is supposed to mean:

Does anyone really confuse Wonder Woman’s costume with a swimsuit? I guess the writer thinks that’s what Wonder Women wears to the beach, and she changes to her real Wonder Woman costume in a cabana. (The other not-so-pretty things in this paragraph are a relatively minor goof of a missing word and a wrong word, which I can only hope is a typo.)

This writer needs to learn something about punctuation. A hyphen is no substitute for a dash. A hyphen joins words; a dash separates them. And random commas don’t help your readers; they just frustrate them. And I really don’t know what to say about triangular fabric that has opportunity.

The rest of the article consists of photos and their captions, which for some reason are actually readable, though the literary quality is not an improvement. We really shouldn’t be subjected to an all-American error on Independence Day:

I’m pretty sure the word video is not part of the video’s title and that the writer published this article before it was ready:

And finally, a gaffe à la Yahoo!:

I’m not going to be discreet

Some situations call for diplomacy, discretion, and tact. This is not one of those situations. At Terribly Write, it is never one of those situations, because a professional writer who screws up the English language will incur my wrath. And this article from Yahoo! Shine is just one more wrath-incurring example.

I’ll never understand a professional writer misspelling a name. This spelling of Mr. Hollande’s name would be betterlooking if it were François, and not the female name Françoise:

And poor little Giulia Sarkozy doesn’t get better treatment by the writer who doesn’t even bother to come close to the correct spelling:

So, the writer didn’t want to leave out Ms. Bruni-Sarkozy in the insult department, with a manglement. And she follows it with some bit of incomprensibility, which I think means “trying to adopt the nickname Jackie O,” which doesn’t make much more sense. Then there’s a little missing word:

She really has problems with the indefinite article a, dropping it like she’s just learning the language. Which she may be. That could explain the whole “ski rink” thing, which must be an enormous rink:

Oh, this is a cozy misspelling of Bruni-Sarkozy. And it’s followed by the name of a movie that looks more like the name of an eau de parfum; that’s why movie titles are usually in quotation marks.

Lordie, someone please tell this girl about Twitter:

I’m not going to be discreet about this: The writer is an idiot. I suspect she is so ignorant of English that she doesn’t know that discreet has a homophone that is spelled d-i-s-c-r-e-t-e and means something entirely different:

The real Twitter problem

The real Twitter problem on the Yahoo! front page is a result of poor writing, bad proofreading, total indifference to grammatical correctness — or all three:

Readers all atwitter over twitter

Literate readers who had the misfortunate to read the Yahoo! front page headlines came across this downplaying of Twitter:

Everything possible is possible

It’s quite an achievement. I didn’t think it was possible to cram every type of writing error in a single article. But this writer for Yahoo! Shine has managed to do it.

Let’s go through the list, shall we? In one little paragraph she’s neglected punctuation (in 5′ 4″), used the wrong word (“one the phone”), misspelled acquiring, and dropped the apostrophe from the possessive star’s:

Then there’s the issue of “Detroit teen named” which either is missing a word (it could be “a Detroit teen named”) or has one word too many (“Detroit teen”).

Oops. Here’s a typo! I believe the teen’s surname is still Kristopik:

Another punctuation mistake: There’s no need for the comma, unless Ms. Hirschberg is the only journalist for the Times. (I suspect she’s not.) Followed by a capitalization boo-boo: Twitter is a proper noun. And a homophonic gaffe:  hoards isn’t the same as hordes:

Another typo:

and another capitalization error: It should be The Hague:

So, maybe I exaggerated. Maybe not every possible writing error appeared here. But there’s certainly enough to leave me wondering: What possible reason is there for publishing something this bad?

Freedom of the press redefined

I get so confused when I see stuff like this. Does the Yahoo! style require quotation marks around the title of a TV show? Or is the writer free to include them for some shows and not others? Apparently that’s the case for Yahoo! TV‘s “Daytime in No Time”:

Let’s just call that freedom of the press: Use any punctuation you want. And any words you want. I thought this was thought, though though makes more sense:

Maybe the writer needs an editor and proofreader. She should definitely ask for their help so that she doesn’t commit another goof about Twitter:

If you can use their correctly once, don’t you think you could do it again in the same sentence?

It doesn’t take a grammar geek to point out the incorrect apostrophe here and the incorrectly divided skydive:

Now that’s real freedom: No more worries about grammar, punctuation, spelling and all that other nerdy word stuff.

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