Like Shootin’ Fish in a Barrel

I’ve been searching for errors on storefront signs around the city. Today there was no shortage of offenders. The most common errors were as you might expect:

  • An apostrophe s where none is needed (or vice versa):
They should have stopped at "Art."

They should have stopped at Art.

Are the materials for artists (no apostrophe), or do the materials belong to artists (apostrophe)? No apostrophe is needed here. Better: Rename the store Art Materials. Best: Artists R Us.

  • A plural form where none is needed (or a singular where a plural is needed):
Fruits, anyone?

They’re selling the fruits of their labour, perhaps?

Where's the s?

With a logo this unforgettable, who needs the s?

  • An adjective used as a noun (or vice versa):
An improvement: Improve Your English

Improve Your English, will ya.

The above sign is around the corner from my house and has bothered me for years. My vote would be to go with “Improve Your English.” English-speaking (with a hyphen) is an adjective, not a noun. Alternatives could include “Improve Your Spoken English” or “Improve Your Conversational English.” Drop one of the frees and omit the ESL, and I can walk past without the snicker.

  • The use of American spellings:
In Canada, it's "centre."

In Canada, it’s “centre.”

In Canada, we "flavour" our food.

We Canucks “flavour” our food.

  • Inconsistent capitalization (and spacing and order, in this instance):
"Manufacturer & Wholesaler of Sportswear, souvenirs,  smoking & Fashion Accessories

“Manufacturer & Wholesaler _of Sportswear, souvenirs, _smoking & Fashion Accessories”

Speaking of inconsistency, I’m bestowing an award on today’s most inconsistently spelled word. Congratulations, jewellery

  • Creative (read: incorrect) spellings:
Their coconut buns are the driest in the city -- guaranteed!

Their coconut buns are the driest in the city — guaranteed!

Get Jean's drape before anyone else snags it!

Get Jean’s drape before anyone else snags it!

Of all the ways jewels could be misspelled, I never would have guessed this.

Of all the signs in all the world, jewells had to walk onto mine.

And yes, this is a menu item, not the last name of the owner.

And yes, this is a menu item, not the last name of the owner.

On offer: purse, scarfs and wallet

On offer: purse, scarfs, and wallet

Git yur backpack, belt, and souvener here.

Git yur backpack, belt, and souvener here.

Takeout was consistently spelled take-out. This was unusual in its incorrectness.

Takeout was consistently spelled take-out. This sign was unusual in its incorrectness: take out as two words.

There were lots of signs that used E- in the text: “E-style haircut.” Really? Is this some kind of fashion I’m unaware of, because variations on this were everywhere (and e-tea, anyone?).

Lots of signs were just plain confusing:

VCD? Am I late to the tech revolution again?!

VCD? Am I late to the tech revolution again?!

The most disappointing mistake was from one of the big banks:

Transfer in?

Transfer in?

Best business name of the day goes to Hair Do. Worst business name is a tie between On Care (not call) Pharmacy and this travesty:

Is that French?

Is that French?

Here’s the absolute worst sign of the day:

This one needs a team of editors.

This one needs a team of editors.

To end on a bright note, here’s a sign that could have gone wrong in so many ways but didn’t:

Nice!

Nice — no apostrophes!

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2 Comments

Filed under apostrophe s, capitalization, grammar, signage, spelling

2 responses to “Like Shootin’ Fish in a Barrel

  1. Pingback: Signs of the Times | mEDITations

  2. Pingback: As Promised: Sign Exposé | mEDITations

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