7 Vehicular Violations of Proper English
Advertising in the form of signage printed on vehicles is a road hazard when exasperating errors and extraneous elements in the mobile messaging distract motorists. Here are photographs of seven moving violations, with commentary.
The motto painted on this truck not only commits a quintuple-overkill foul but also is flatly incorrect. The worst infraction, beyond the extraneous quotation marks framing the message, appears to be the placement for emphasis of an additional set of quotation marks around only. (If one wishes to employ one set of quotation marks inside another, the interior ones — in American English, at least — should be single; in British English, the order is reversed. But here, neither set is necessary.)
But that’s still not enough — the word is also placed at a jaunty, pseudo-italicized angle, underlined, and printed in a different font and color than the rest of the slogan. Just one or two forms of accentuation would have been sufficient. The worst error, however, is that the company is not the “only” overhead-door professional (note the insertion of a missing hyphen in the previous phrase); it may be the sole provider of overhead-door services in its home city, but then the motto should close with “in town.” But why not simply say, without quotation marks or any other emphasis, “Our overhead-door service rises above the rest!” Was that motto already taken?
This sign sports merely mild mistakes, but they’re insistently irritating, like a small burr in one’s sock. Note the extra letter spaces between the (unnecessary) open and close quotation marks bracketing “We’re Affordable.” The hyphen in “Clean-Outs” (which should be “Cleanouts”) also hangs in midair, as do the hyphens separating the elements of the phone number.
There is so much wrong with this superficially satisfying vehicle signage. First, too many fonts compete with each other. Then, the letters in the slogan “Quality Is Our Main Ingredient” are too widely spread, while those in the next line are too compact — and then the elements of the phone number are nearly segregated into different time zones.
The middle word in the phrase after Flik, strictly speaking, shouldn’t start with an uppercase letter; of is one of the “little words” that doesn’t merit capitalization in display type. (However, capitalizing it is a defensible style choice.) But the inexcusable error is the misspelling of member. Nobody at the sign shop and nobody at the client company noticed that? Really?
Busy, busy, busy. Too many colors, too many fonts, too many words. The key crime, however, is the common error of mistakenly styling a plural construction as if it were a plural one. This sign implies that love flowers belong to Mom. The message, however, should read, “Moms Love Flowers.”
No job is too small, but sometimes words are — to should be too.
This asininely assertive window panel proves that everyone has the right to appear stupid, too. The oddly inconsistent swelling treatment of the letters in each line — notice how the characters in the lines beginning with everyone and to grow and recede in size from left to right, but the words in the third and fourth lines are uniformly sized — might distract viewers from the unfortunate fact that but is amusingly misspelled and the wrong spelling of you’re is employed. Write English correctly, or . . . .
This fortunately ephemeral expression is head-slappingly hilarious. One hopes (and presumes) that the “sineor” girl who sprayed this signage a couple of years ago — assuming she graduated — is not employed in the wordsmithing world.
These images are from the websites Apostrophe Abuse, English Fail Blog, Funnies.com, The Great Typo Hunt, and The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks.
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