Please push your bicycle across the underpass

This is a grammar post. I think the sign should say:

Please push your bicycle through the underpass.

I would use “through” because an underpass is basically a tunnel.

Not that prepositions necessarily make any sense, but in my experience, we say you go across things that you are on and we say you go through things you are in.

Thus, if the sign were talking about a bridge, then it could say:

Please push your bicycle across the bridge.

sign at Clemenceau Ave

Bras Basah Complex: Art, Dance, Explore, Sports, Book

If you are looking to buy books in Singapore, this is a good place to go. It has several book shops selling new or used books. It also has print shops, art supply shops, stationery shops, and shops selling musical instruments and antiques.

Within the last couple of years, these colorful square signs were added to convey the complex’s status as a cultural hub of sorts.

Bras Basah Complex
* Art * Dance * Explore * Sport * Book

One of my pet peeves is lists of things that aren’t all the same part of speech. “Art, Dance, Explore, Sports, Book” is a fantastic example. See below for why.

Continue reading Bras Basah Complex: Art, Dance, Explore, Sports, Book

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. The inaudibility of that double s also helps explain “Today Special“.

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.