"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for approval, I can tell you I don't have any. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills -- skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you leave my language alone right now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will punctuate you."

Monday, June 17, 2013

Caution! Bad English! Ahead!!!

This electronic sign outside a battery store has so many mistakes that I think we'd better approach this systematically:

First of all, the whole statement reads (mistakes and all): "ATV'S MOTOR CYCLES, JETSKI BOATS,, WE GOT THE BATTERRY FOR YOU".

Now let's break it down into its individual components:

1. "ATV'S": I don't know if you can make lower case letters on these signs. I'll assume that you cannot, so "ATV'S" may not be a mistake. I've always favored "ATVs", myself, but if you can't use lower case letters, it's probably better to go with the apostrophe so your plural initialism doesn't look like a weird word or acronym.

2 AND 3: "MOTOR/CYCLES": There obviously isn't room on this sign for "motorcycles" to fit on one line, so I won't call this a mistake (although I might have used a hyphen after "motor" - if indeed these machines can make hyphens).

4. "JETSKI": "jetski"? Singular? Surely they meant "jetskis", unless there are things called "jetski boats". I don't really know - I'm not a sporting fellow.

5. "BOATS,,": I think "boats," accidentally recieved "jetski(s)" comma.

6. "WE GOT": This is just poor English. I blame the California Milk Processor Board and their "Got Milk" campaign and its imitators for this dumbing-down of the language.

7. "BATTERRY": Enough said.

I wish people would just use these signs for their intended purpose:

1 comment:

  1. No, no. "JETSKI BOATS" are the boats that belong to Mr. Jetski, the Polish guy. (ta-dump!)