Saturday, May 16, 2009

SITW (Seen in the Wild) or why companies need an editor

I thought this might be a fun thing to put on the blog from time to time. Public bloopers that change the entire meaning of a sign or commercial advertisement. They make a minor point on how important punctuation can be. :-)

Take the following examples of signs I've seen over the last couple of days and ponder if a company's image might be better served with the services of a copyeditor:

  • Posted on the exit door of a store "Good Buy. Thanks for visiting. Come again." A pun? It was hand-lettered and sure didn't have the "feel" of a pun.

  • Sign advertising legal services for traffic violations "Drunk driving, over 80?" They only defend drunk drivers older than 80? (I think it refers to blowing over 80 on a Breathalyzer...I think...or is it over 80 kilometers per hour? This is Canada, eh?)

  • At the local plant nursery "Flower's and Veggie's"...bah...flower's and veggie's what? And yes, this one is so common it almost feels right when you read it. The bane of Lynne Truss in Eats, Shoots & Leaves. (Sentence fragment, I know.)

What's this got to do with fiction? I bet you're thinking I'm going to draw a parallel between the integrity of a commercial sign or advertisement and your manuscript. I bet you're thinking that using "its" when it should "it's" is a mortal sin and your credibility as a writer will be shot just like the guy who only represents octogenarian drinkers. Wanna bet you're wrong?

This has nothing to do with punctuating fiction or memoir. But it's fun. For me.


  1. My favorite sign was one my way back in the day. It said: No Shooting Children At Play.Amazing what a lack of punctuation does to change the sign's

    (there were bullet holes in the sign, too!)

  2. Good one, Angela.

    These can be fun, like the famous book dedication "To my parents, Ayn Rand and God." :-)


  3. Slow Children at Play is another sign that always tickles me.

  4. There's a billboard near my home advertising an Adult Establishment. It reads something along the lines of "Book's, DVD's, Adult Toy's!"

    Doing what? Dare I ask?