Soup Spoon Novena: Cutleries Station is now Cutlery Corner

Last June, I posted a photo of a sign that said “Cutleries Station”. They have improved the sign tremendously since then.

  • In particular, the non-word “cutleries” has been replaced with “cutlery”.
  • The sign has an icon showing cutlery, for additional clarity.
  • The sign is in better shape.
  • It uses cheesy alliteration (of which I am a fan).

I didn’t mention it before, but if you say “cutleries station” aloud, it runs together because of the “s” in the middle and sounds like “cutlery station”. Maybe the similarity in the pronunciation of the two phrases helps explain why the previous sign was written the way it was.

Rerouted!

What should have been a twenty-four-hour, three-airport trip from Atlanta to Singapore turned into a thirty-plus-hour, five-airport trip.

I watched another seven-and-a-half movies.

There are two red symbols on top of Tokyo, one for each of the airports I was at (Narita and Haneda).

The reason my trip got longer was that at some point while we were flying over Canada, someone on the plane had a stroke. We backtracked to Minneapolis/St. Paul to get him off the plane and then the plane had to be refueled and paperwork filled out.

I missed my connecting flight at Tokyo Narita Airport because of the delay. Delta issued new tickets, but I had to collect my luggage and wait for Delta to put me on a bus to the Tokyo Haneda Airport (about an hour away). Delta gave me about $20 in meal vouchers which I used to buy a nice dinner at a katsu restaurant.

It was a lot of extra travel time, but it wasn’t really so bad for me. I spoke with a guy who had been on a flight from Florida to Atlanta before being re-routed on the flight from Atlanta to Narita, and his new flight to Seoul took off a couple of hours after mine.

Obviously the one with the worst luck was the man with the stroke. I hope he’s okay…

I remember what they said to us at Mammoth Cave: once you start the tour, there is no magic button to get you out if something goes wrong underground. Similarly, it takes time to come back from the sky when something goes wrong on a plane.

See below for photos taken at Haneda.

Continue reading Rerouted!

Turn on headlights when raining

I saw this message displayed on a programmable sign over a highway, prefaced by the notation “Georgia Law”.

Obviously, the message is

Turn on [your] headlights when [it is] raining.

The intent is clear, but the syntax is awful.

Syntactically, the implied subject of both the verbs “turn” and “rain” is “you”, so technically the sentence means:

Turn on [your] headlights when [you are] raining.

I don’t have any particular suggestion for how to “improve” the sign. Signs aren’t written in normal syntax because of space constraints, so any alternate version would have to be really short. Writing “If it is raining, turn on your headlights” is obviously longer and not obviously better, because even when space is not limited, we expect signs to be written in a terse style that lacks pronouns.

Ah well. Pronouns in English are problematic anyway.

Plural noun adjuncts again

This sign in the lift at Kent Vale says

Pre-loved Items Collection

Which sounds weird to me because I would have said

Pre-loved Item Collection

even though obviously they will be collecting more than one.

It’s an example of a tendency to pluralize nouns being used as adjectives, which I’ve posted about alreadytwice.

Spot the homophone (plus a lesson in contest statistics)

This advertisement (which was designed to be hung on a horizontal pole on a bus or a train) says:

West My Golden Ticket?

The idea for this jokey name is that the word “west” in Singlish has the exact same three sounds as the word “where’s” in Singlish.

Yep. They’re both pronounced “wes”.

Below is some explanation of what the advertisement wants you to do (spend money, duh) and how the math works.

Continue reading Spot the homophone (plus a lesson in contest statistics)

Pierre Cardin and the Apparels of Ecclesiastical Vestments

This sign at OG says:

Pierre Cardin
apparels

Now, I used to think that the word “apparel” had no legitimate plural form, but it appears I was wrong.

Google’s dictionary says:

However, I don’t think Pierre Cardin is offering 20% off embroidered ornamentation on ecclesiastical vestments. I think they’re offering 20% off men’s shirts.

I was wrong, yes, but the sign was also wrong, unless “apparels” is a verb, and the sign is really saying that someone named Pierre Cardin is in the habit of appareling or clothing others… which, in a sense, he is, I suppose.

Below is an example of writing that uses the word “apparels” in the technically correct sense. Note that the plural does not refer to the ecclesiastical vestments or articles of clothing themselves, only to some bits of decoration on them.

While embroidered pieces known as apparels were used on albs, dalmatics, and tunicles to represent Christ’s stigmata when placed at the end of sleeves and at hems, the practice of incorporating this form of ornamentation on vestments was gradually replaced by the use of lace in Western vestments during the sixteenth century.
Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion

So unless you are knowledgeable about albs, dalmatics, and tunicles, steer clear of the word “apparels”.