I won’t spoil other potential posts, but one of the fun things to do while out walking is to read the signs over shops, and those for various promotions or offers. These can be a source of wonder at some of the innocent mistakes made, or of sadness – if their precision regarding grammar and spelling is any indication of the state of out basic education.
Walking through Cambuslang recently, the darkness was pierced by one particularly bright shop, and it carried a ‘LUNCH OFFER’, this being ‘ALL SUPPERS £3.00’.
This was further defined in the small print as being ‘MONDAY TO SATURDAY TILL 2PM’.
(In this case, we’ll pretend not to see the use of ‘TILL’ rather than ‘TIL’).
However… ‘ALL’ in this case does not mean ‘ALL’. In this case, it does not include fish!
If you want a ‘FISH SUPPER’, then you’ll have to dig a little deeper and find another 80 p.
I’ve had to sit through some real fun in court, as the various lawyers and solicitors present argue about the meaning of words, and who has to honour intent, or reasonable meaning, where words are used carelessly. And there’s no escape clause that allows the accused to claim “Words mean what I mean them to mean“. In court, there is a legal rule applied that words mean what they mean as understood by the average person. If you do actually try to redefine words to suit yourself, the Sheriff will make mincemeat out of you, as trying that (and expecting to get away with it) is effectively calling him/her an idiot – and you can be sure that will not go well when it come to summing up, and issuing instructions to the jury.
On a more positive note:
Benny’s glowing shop signs sports a nicely placed and properly used apostrophe. Full marks for this.
Experts may notice some odd geometry in this pic. It wasn’t possible to stand in front of the shop so the pic had to be taken off to one side at fairly steep angle. I recently found I had some software that would correct this automatically, and it does a pretty good job – unless you start to look at the relative geometry of adjacent items. Then, the view suddenly starts to show ‘impossible’ positions of items beside one another. See if you can spot this… place that you can see, but would not actually be able to see if you were standing in front of the shop.
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