Take off ‘of’ in ‘off of’

Spotted yesterday on yahoo.com:

What’s the issue? It’s the use of off of, which some think is wrong and others say merely lacks concision.

The American Heritage Dictionary says:

The compound preposition off of is generally regarded as informal and is best avoided in formal speech and writing: He stepped off (not off of) the platform.

While Merriam Webster states:

The of is often criticized as superfluous, a comment that is irrelevant because off of is an idiom. It is much more common in speech than in edited writing and is more common in American English than in British.

Aha! There’s the reason for the superfluous of! I’m reading yahoo.com, which isn’t exactly “edited writing.”

New record errors in one sentence

This might just be a new record for number of errors in a single sentence:

It’s unimaginable to me (and to most English speakers) how the writer could think that sentence is okie-dokie for publication. She didn’t notice that prices starts is a grammatical horror? Or that prices can start at $700 and also go up to $1500. But there’s only one starting price for any item.  And prices … is sold? That one made me spit out my sugar-free, nonfat vanilla latte. That’s so bad, I almost didn’t notice the random and totally unnecessary at.

Maybe we should ask for a translation, part deux

I was going to ask Google for  simultaneous translation of this caption from Yahoo! Style, but I’m rethinking that decision. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know what the writer was saying:

short-shorts

Based on my knowledge of English

Based on my knowledge of English, I’d say that this Yahoo! Style writer has trouble with common idioms (like based on) and likes to use redundant words (like off of):

based-off-of-sty-z

Here’s a wise word of wisdom for ya’

Here’s a word of wisdom for the Yahoo! Style editor: Consult a dictionary about the meaning of the words you use. Perhaps then you’d learn that “wise words” are the only kind that come with wisdom:

wise-wisdom-sty-hp

You couldn’t have just said “wise words” or “words of wisdom” or just “wisdom”? Apparently not.

And here’s another bit of wisdom for ya’: Take some pride in your writing and try to spell the name of your subject correctly. She’s Lea Michele. Spelling her name wrong is worse than “wise words of wisdom.”

Because today’s meeting tomorrow is too late

Today’s Alibaba meeting kicked off today, according to Yahoo! Finance:

today-fin-hp

Makes sense to me. Who’d want to kick off today’s meeting tomorrow?

Speaking out

I must speak out about the writing by Yahoo! Answers staff: It sucks.

mylan-ans

Judging by the incorrect word usage, I’d guess that the writer is not a native English speaker. Why do I think that? The CEO of Mylan testified before Congress. Neither the CEO nor Mylan can be accused of “speaking out,” which means to talk freely and fearlessly. Quite the contrary. The expression “in the recent years” isn’t familiar to me, but “in recent years” is. And people aren’t affected about an issue, but affected by one.

This writer just isn’t familiar enough with English to be let loose on the public without the support of a competent editor.

All writing serves a purpose

All writing serves a purpose. And the purpose of this article from Yahoo! Style may be to illustrate what not to do. First lesson: If you’re including names in your article, spell them correctly. It’s not enough to just misspell them in the same way. If you’re writing about Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Google her name.

huntingdon-1

Second, if you’re writing about editors-in-chief, don’t capitalize the title and don’t look like an idiot by forming the plural incorrectly. And make sure you’re confident enough in your English to include the article the in “in the second row” and “in the third row.”

Don’t follow the example of this gal. She’s nothing if not consistent. When she misspells a name like Stella Tennant, she sticks with it. None of this silly Googling a name to check the spelling:

huntingdon-2

Finally we encounter this gem, a sterling example of what not to do:

huntingdon-3

The takeaway: Read everything you write before you publish it. Read everything you write before you publish it.

Don’t even try

Don’t even try to understand or interpret this. Just enjoy the beauty of an unedited sentence:

aaron sty

Uh-oh. I neglected to circle back lace up evening shoes as a potential error. They looked like black shoes to me, but maybe they really do sport laces in the back.

Trump cut short

People must be getting nervous over at Yahoo! Finance, and it’s affecting their work. It looks like a little p ran out of Mr. Trump:

trum fin

And instead of merely appealing the EU tax decision, Apple will appeal against it, which might mean something to the writer, but to me means the writer is unfamiliar with English:

appeal against fin hp

I don’t know why Apple will appeal the decision. Heck if I owed a $14.50 tax bill, I’d just pay it:

14.5 news hp

Maybe it’s the principle of the thing. Or maybe the stress is getting to those folks at Yahoo!.

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