Break out the eraser

Time to break out the eraser and correct this from Yahoo Lifestyle:

When it’s one word, breakout is a noun or adjective. The phrasal verb is two words: break out.

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Don’t confuse lyrics with words

Gosh, I feel really stupid. All my life I’ve thought that lyrics were the words of a song. According to Yahoo Lifestyle, word and lyrics are two totally different things:

OK, I’ll also admit I don’t know what the writer meant by the word word. Was the writer referring to Mr. Petty’s promise (as in “he kept his word”) or to actual words (as in “lyrics of a song”)? I’m so confused.

What’s your style?

If you’re a writer, editor, blogger, or just someone interested in writing in excruciatingly correct English, you might have occasion to refer to a style guide. A style guide can be an internal company document or a public publication, like the Associated Press Stylebook. Many media companies use the AP guide as the definitive source of spelling, capitalization, word choice, and the like. But not Yahoo News, apparently.

According to AP style, cabinet should be capitalized when referring to the president’s advisers, and not to a piece of furniture. (Other authorities, such as the Government Printing Office and the New York Times, recommend capitalizing the word in that context.) But ultimately it’s a matter of house style. So, I’ll give that one a pass.

Not getting a pass? The use of him instead of the reflexive pronoun himself. (When the subject and the pronoun refer to the same person, use a reflexive pronoun, which ends with self or selves.)  And obviously, the doubled and in and and.

Did the editor roll over?

Was there some disagreement at Yahoo Finance about the name of a popular retirement plan? Did the writer insist it’s a 401k, but the editor claim it’s 401(k)? Did the editor roll over and write this:

Well, a finance writer and editor who don’t know that the plan is a 401(k) probably don’t know that rollover isn’t a verb. The verb phrase is two words: roll over. (And the illustrator has a different idea about the plan’s name.)

But wait! There’s more! The headline for the article also claims rollover can be a verb. (What would its past tense be? rollovered?)

And there’s yet another (and wrong) name for the plan, this time with a capital K. (I’m going to overlook the missing hyphen in what normally would be two-minute.  It’s Yahoo’s feature and the company can call it anything it wants, even if it’s slightly illiterate.)

Writing imbued with ignorance

I’m stumped. What do the Yahoo! News editors think imbue means?

Clearly they don’t know that it means to permeate or influence something.

The one thing everyone gets wrong about proofreading

Just about everyone makes a mistake when writing. Relying solely on a spell-checker for proofreading services is one of those mistakes. Spell-checkers can’t tell you if your perfectly spelled word is actually the wrong word. Just ask the folks at Yahoo! Finance:

To kick off this post

To kick off this blog post about Yahoo! Style, I’m excited to share that neither the writer nor the editor knows the difference between a noun (like kickoff) and a phrasal verb (like kick off):

Blogger is preparing to crack down

Someone at Yahoo! News should be preparing to crack down on editors who don’t know a noun (like crackdown) and a phrasal verb (like crack down):

Do you think a crackdown will actually happen?

Try romancing a dictionary

This Yahoo! Style writer won’t be making headlines for her knowledge of English:

Her rumored romance with a dictionary is hoax. Perhaps her editor can enlighten her on the correct preposition to use in this situation.

Racking my brain

I’m racking my brain trying to figure out how this Yahoo! Style writer could use raked up in this context:

The phrasal verb rake up means uncover. The expression the writer meant was raked in or racked up.

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