It’s not Veterans Day

In an attempt to honor Veterans Day, a writer for Yahoo! Shine gives it a decorative flourish with an apostrophe:

When she’s not adding unnecessary punctuation marks to holidays, the writer is misquoting Dr. Jill Biden, who generally speaks in complete sentences:

Do I really need to explain what’s wrong with being home from the holidays? Or that post-traumatic stress disorder isn’t a proper noun, but it does sport a hyphen?

Oh, so now she uses a hyphen! But a hyphen is no substitute for an em dash — it just confuses me because a hyphen joins words. And it’s still not Veterans Day with an apostrophe:

‘Pino the Frog’ Pelosi. No, not that Pelosi

How many mistakes can one person cram into one brief paragraph? If the writer works for Yahoo! Movies, quite a few.

It starts with the inexplicable hyphenation of Italian director, as if it were a compound adjective (it’s not). Then it moves on to what should be Giuseppe “Pino the Frog” Pelosi, followed by missing hyphens in 17-year-old, and a misspelled hustler (or possibly buster):

This isn’t the worst writing to come out of Yahoo!. It actually is just more of the same.

Weigh in and increase your brainpower

If you’re a professional fighter, you go to a weigh-in before a fight. If you state your opinion about that, you weigh in. Don’t believe everything you read on the home page of  Yahoo! Shine; some of what you’ll find is a grammatical fairy tale:

Perhaps the writers for Shine should click on this headline on their home page. Reading the article might just boost their brainpower:


What was she thinking?!

What was the writer for Yahoo! Shine thinking when she decided to chop up mohawked with a hyphen?

What was going through her brain when she wrote this?

It’s probably true that if there were actually a school called the University of Austin, it would be in Texas. But it’s the University of Texas that has an Austin campus. And why didn’t she put all those commas within what should be quotation marks?

Clearly, she has a limited grasp of the correct use of punctuation. Why include a comma here, before a parenthesis?

What was going on in her mind when she wrote this? Was she so distracted she didn’t notice she dropped a word?

Was she so distracted that she didn’t notice she dropped a letter from Sylvia Plath?

Notice anything odd here? The first name of the woman the writer refers to isn’t Elizabeth (it’s Elisabeth) and her last name isn’t Hasselback (it’s Hasselbeck); other than that, this is perfect:

What did she think re means?

It means “in reference to,” not “that is.” A relevant abbreviation might be i.e.

The comparative littler needs something to be compared to. Was that just a typo? Like the misplaced period, the use of apostrophes instead of real quotation marks, and the capitalized pronoun you?

What was she thinking? Or was she thinking at all?

Splitting up a nonprofit

The correct use of hyphens seems to have alluded the folks over at the Yahoo! front page. When they’re not using it (incorrectly) between an adverb ending in -LY and the word it modifies, they’re inserting it in perfectly good words like nonprofit:

Maybe someone can take that hyphen and put it on the home page of Yahoo! Shine, where there’s one missing:

That should be a digitally altered comment

It wouldn’t be too hard to alter this comment on the Yahoo! front page to make it correct: Just delete the hyphen.

This is a very public example of one of the top three hyphen errors made by the writers and editors at Yahoo!. There’s no need for a hyphen after an adverb ending in -LY to connect it to the adjective it modifies. The -LY is the signal to the reader that the adverb modifies the word that follows it.

Why I don’t trust you

A study a few years ago (which makes it ancient in Internet time) revealed that typos, grammatical errors, and the like eroded a Web site’s credibility. So, it wasn’t unexpected that I was skeptical of what I was reading in the first two paragraphs of an article on Yahoo! Shine

The breakup of stateside didn’t make me feel any better:

A misplaced period (in the US, it goes before the closing quotation mark) and a missing article.  That misplaced hyphen changed Shiloh Jolie-Pitt to a little girl whose first name is Shiloh-Jolie (which is kinda cute). Now I’m really questioning the reliability of the whole article.

This one had me scratching my head and dusting dandruff off my keyboard: Did Carla’s baby have four stepbrothers and stepsisters? Or four stepbrothers and some unknown number of sisters? It was pretty easy to confirm that there’s no hyphen in stepbrother. But what about the sisters? They exist only in the mind of the author. As do the stepbrothers. Turns out, the newborn has four half-brothers. But that’s almost like sisters, right?

An overhyphenated overexposure and an unnecessary comma just make me feel more uneasy about trusting this writer:

I was unaware that the French froth over other countries. It seems so out of character for the Gauls.

Frothing Frenchmen, a misnamed toddler, nonexistent sisters. See? I told you not to trust typo-riddled articles.

Do you believe you read that?

Uh-oh. I can’t believe what I’m reading on Yahoo! Shine:

Does no one proofread any more? Does no one know how to use a hyphen? Hint: 7-year itch doesn’t have two of them.

Seeking a crackerjack writer

Not everything you read on the Interwebs is written by a crackerjack writer and edited by a crackerjack editor. Even articles written by professional writers can contain grammatical gaffes, punctuation problems, and terrible typos. The problems aren’t confined to Yahoo! Shine — it just seems that the site has more than its share of missteps and mishaps.

This mismatch of subject and verb might charitably be called a typo:

Maybe these are typos, too. A hyphen here and there would help clarify the writer’s meaning. And the elimination of an apostrophe would turn the contraction it’s (which means it is or it has) into the possessive pronoun:

And perhaps this is also the result of just pressing the wrong keys, or neglecting to press the Shift key::

If you mean the adjective that’s synonymous with “of excellent quality,” then the word is crackerjack. If you’re writing about the caramel popcorn treat with the surprise in every box, then that would be Cracker Jack, a trademark with two capital letters.

Here’s another pesky little typo masquerading as a grammatical error:

The subject of the sentence is messages and the verb should be seem. When the subject and verb are separated a phrase or two, it might be harder to keep them in sync. Harder, but not impossible.

A crackerjack editor would know that Nielson is misspelled and reality viewers doesn’t need a hyphen:

Finally, there’s this seldom-seen (at least by me) pileup of punctuation:

If a quotation ends in question mark, don’t include a comma, too.

That’s it! I’m off to the local Star Market to pick me up some Cracker Jacks.

It’s a two-for-one

It’s a two-for-one today, brought to you by Yahoo! Shine — that’s two of the most common punctuation mistakes in one article.

I’m not sure I understand the confusion, but some writers (and possibly their editors) can’t remember when to hyphen an age. This is not how to do it:

If the age includes the word years (notice the plural), don’t include the hyphens. Mrs. McConnell is 90 years old, but she’s a 90-year-old woman.

Another common error on Yahoo! is the omission of the comma following a city-state combination. What’s not so common is omitting the comma between the city and state:

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