I don’t think it’s right

It’s not unusual to see a completely erroneous apostrophe in the possessive pronoun its. What is unusual is a missing apostrophe in the contraction it’s. But it’s not so unusual on Yahoo Finance:


Just call it a holiday

When I read this on the front page of Yahoo Finance, I attributed the inconsistent spelling of the February holiday to carelessness:

But it could just be the result of laziness: The editors at Yahoo didn’t bother to refer to any authorities on how to spell the holiday. But they weren’t so lazy that they couldn’t come up with yet another place to stick an apostrophe:

So, is it Presidents’ Day, Presidents Day, or President’s Day? According to the federal government, the correct name is Washington’s Birthday. But there is no universal agreement on whether to include an apostrophe in Presidents Day. The only universal agreement: Be consistent.


Should you share with colleagues?

Nothing makes a newsroom look more dysfunctional than the inability to spell a simple word the same way twice. Case in point: This headline from the home page of Yahoo Finance:

Was this just a simple typo? In an effort to sleuth out the truth, I looked at the article itself. The headline and text in the video are equally confused:

Maybe Yahoo writers should start sharing the same dictionary. Or maybe they should just refer to people you work with as colleagues.

It’s it’s, but it should be its

It’s practically an everyday occurrence at Yahoo. Someone confuses its and it’s. This time it’s on Yahoo Finance for its mistake:

Hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of errors

If I had a nickel for every error on Yahoo, I’d have hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of coins. Missing apostrophes, like those on Yahoo Finance, would contribute to my stash:

Sometimes a word ending in S looks like a plural, but it’s really a quasi possessive. This is a case of a quasi possessive. (It’s also an example of the genitive case, which is more grammar than I like.) If you’re unsure whether you’re faced with a simple plural or a quasi possessive, try this: Substitute the number 1 for the number in the phrase. So, instead of “millions of dollars worth,” try “one dollars worth.” Notice that I used dollars, and not dollar, because that sounds right to me. But of course it’s not a plural, so it must be a possessive: one dollar’s worth. This method depends on having an “ear” for correct language, something Yahoo writers seem to lack.



Ability to count optional

You don’t need to be able to count to write for Yahoo Finance:

This writer can’t count and can’t get the name of the retirement account right: It’s 401(k). So, why would anyone trust the advice from this site?

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.)

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:

The dream and reality of two different things

The dream of a grammatically correct sentence and the reality of writing at Yahoo! Finance continue to be at odds:

Did you really ‘go bonkers’?

When writing this headline, did the Yahoo! Finance editors really “go bonkers”?

Did  they forget that a question mark goes before a closing quotation mark only when the quoted matter is a question?

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