Last Friday, my mom and I took a drive up to visit my grandparents outside of Allentown. The drive was long, and as wonderful as my grandparents are (and they really are), it’s tiring to make conversation with people who don’t have the opportunity to get out much. So on our way back to Baltimore, Mom and I got a little punchy. (Okay, so we get a little silly anytime we spend time together, but that’s part of what makes our relationship so great.) We started noticing signs on buses and such, and given that my mom is largely responsible for my love of language, we also began dissecting the signs for all their humorous incorrectness.
While I have been wracking my brain for the last week to think of the sign that got us to hysterics, you know how this goes – I absolutely cannot remember it. (Mom, a little help here?) But I do remember some of the others we brought up.
At a rural fire house – “Have a fire
Safe Summer.” The line break was just a little funny.
At every Borders on the planet – “Unpaid merchandise must be left outside the bathroom.” – Do any of you pay the merchandise?
These examples abound, and I think they provide us with a good insight into why the little things matter, especially in writing. The last thing you want a reader to do is to crack up over your typos. You don’t want to seem ignorant or be the butt of anyone’s joke. So proofread, please.
And in the meantime, send me your signs with poor grammar. Mom and I could use some more laughs.
– from Steve Dinner’s Flickr set of “Signs with Bad Grammar.”
– I feel like Doctor Who would like this one.