01 February 2014

 

While I don't believe the accuracy of the preceding sign, it is featured here as an example of how not to form a plural.

Plural:   One tree. Two trees.

Possessive:  The branch of the tree.  The tree's branch.

Another such sign is at the other end of their carpark and the apostrophe has been removed post-production, along with the quote marks.

 

 

There are technically a few syntactical errors in this triptych, but the one I am focussing on is the apostrophe in Arch's, which ought to be Arches.

Oh, all right then... the others are the spelling of Artificial; and the capitalisation of common nouns (more in another post).

 

 

Last but not least for this set is sandwiches.  (Yes, they also capitalise common nouns; and ice cream as two words is standard.)

 

Syntax Schmintax is an attempt to document, and make myself more aware of, the grammatical errors being made in advertising and marketing by organisations who in the main employ professional sign-writers and printers.  It is by no means an authoritative reference, and is only my personal opinion.  Feel free to chime in and comment, especially if you are one who has an English honours degree (which I don't)!

 

Hawke's Bay
25 January 2014

 

I first spotted this car license plate sitting behind it at the lights one day, and it has crossed my path a few times since then.

If the guy who drives it is an English teacher or grammarian with a wicked sense of humour then more power to him - it certainly is a lesson in itself.

Does he think it is an acceptable alternative to the correct indefinite article; or is he really trying to play on it being an example that proves his point?  He is an idiot?! 

I realise that our New Zealand personalised plates only allow 6 place-holders; and scarcity seemingly necessitates creativity with spelling, but I couldn't live with this myself.

If it can't be spelled correctly it oughtn't be used.

There is more to this argument though than the bastardisation of the English language.

Is justice being served as a result?

What exactly do I mean?

I don't know what the statistics are, but unless the Police supercomputer works like a code cracker, trawling through the endless permutations of a number plate to find all the possible matches, then the only thing they have to go on in the case of an incident report is what someone remembers.

It has long been proven that human beings are able to unscramble letters in a word if the first and last letter are in order, as we glean things from the context around them.

Presently the standard car license plate contains 3 letters then 3 numbers.  We expect that.  That is part of the context on a normal plate.

With the random placement of 6 letters or numbers in any position; and the substitution in personalised license plates of numbers for letters and letter sequences we destroy context.  Numbers do not belong in our alphabet.  There is also little context, other than perhaps if you remember the colour or make of the vehicle (and even then it depends on the search capabilities of the Police computer to use this extra information as a primary term).

Have you considered how many prosecutions could not be made because a personalised plate contained a variant spelling, let alone an obscured plate?

How weird it is that people are paying a grand price for buying an error.

 

Syntax Schmintax is an attempt to document, and make myself more aware of, the grammatical errors being made in advertising and marketing by organisations who in the main employ professional sign-writers and printers.  It is by no means an authoritative reference, and is only my personal opinion.  Feel free to chime in and comment, especially if you are one who has an English honours degree (which I don't)!

 

Hawke's Bay
18 January 2014

 

Hastings presently has a permanent venue for horse racing, and another for agricultural and trade shows.  They are looking at combining the two in the future.

For now though it is enough to know that the Hawke's Bay Racing is here to stay; and therein lies the problem with today's sign.

A 'Race course' is any non-permanent venue that can be used for any kind of racing, be that two-legged, three-legged or four-legged etc.

A 'Racecourse' however is a horse racing track.

I have never known anything other than horses to be raced on site.

Therefore I must conclude that this sign ought to read "Racecourse".

 

Syntax Schmintax is an attempt to document, and make myself more aware of, the grammatical errors being made in advertising and marketing by organisations who in the main employ professional sign-writers and printers.  It is by no means an authoritative reference, and is only my personal opinion.  Feel free to chime in and comment, especially if you are one who has an English honours degree (which I don't)!

 

Hawke's Bay

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