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):
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):
- An adjective used as a noun (or vice versa):
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:
- Inconsistent capitalization (and spacing and order, in this instance):
Speaking of inconsistency, I’m bestowing an award on today’s most inconsistently spelled word. Congratulations, jewellery.
- Creative (read: incorrect) spellings:
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:
The most disappointing mistake was from one of the big banks:
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:
Here’s the absolute worst sign of the day:
To end on a bright note, here’s a sign that could have gone wrong in so many ways but didn’t: