18 March 2008

Punctuation Errors

Several weeks ago, there was a flurry of hoopla about a semicolon, a particular semicolon that had appeared on a NYC subway placard and was lauded for being a properly used "pretentious anachronism".

Being the crank that I am, I could only think of all the many transit placards with errors in punctuation. The consistent error that particularly galls me is that their graphic designers seem to have decreed the period verboten, so there are no periods at the ends of the instructions as to what to do in an emergency. However, for some inexplicable stylistic reason, they deign to use internal punctuation. So, if an emergency command is a single sentence, it gets no period at the end. But if the command is in two parts? The first part ends with a period and the second doesn't. It makes me nuts.

Yesterday, I happened to be standing on the subway in front of one of those signs. I took a picture (oh hail the iPhone!) so I could present you with evidence. Please review the punctuation, particularly in the third box.

26 comments:

slouching mom said...

Oh, oh, oh. Awful.

The one that makes me shudder is the random use of quotation marks.

As in:

Don't stand "too near" the edge of the platform.

Or, more likely:

Don't stand "too near" the edge of the platform

AUGH!

Queen Goob said...

I read the story of the semicolon on a subway placard. However, what really made me giggle was the correction in the following day’s paper due to the incorrect punctuation of a book title (they forgot to include the comma). Now THAT was funny!

p.s. I still reference "The Standard Handbook for Secretaries" when I have a question concerning punctuation because yes, I'm a punctuation-tard.

Hey – I like doo-dads and goo-gas, the more there are the prettier it looks!

Life As I Know It said...

Oh, that IS annoying? Is anyone editing these things?!?

Janet said...

What is more disconcerting is that the graphic designer presumes that the people riding the train have actual human hands with fingers (picture 1), while the folks working on the train are not afforded that luxury.

Stick people revolt!

FreshHell said...

I personally love the semicolon. I use it as often as possible. If I were clever, I'd figure out how to leave a comment with one in it. We should be issued badges that say "Punctuation Police" and "Gramma Police" on them. With the badge, we'd have fat sharpies on our person at all times so as to rectify these dreadful mistakes!!

S. said...

They are also not that resourceful, because if we accept that they hate periods, they could have done away with that one with a colon.

Don Mills Diva said...

Since when is using proper punctuation pretentious? Drives. Me. Crazy. (How's that for punctuation)

Becky said...

You know I! totally dig? you;

Victoria said...

Ack. Bad punctuation makes me cranky. But bad spelling?? That gets me downright pissy.

Nice pic, btw. I covet an Iphone.

And new clogs. *weak grin*

Stimey said...

I actually delight in finding bad punctuation and spelling in public places that I can point out. It makes me feel smart.

Eva said...

I know, I know, it's so frustrating. And why does everything seem to think that apostrophes are somehow related to pluralization?

Ozma said...

Am I crazy. What is wrong with the third box?

Ozma said...

Oh, it's just the missing period. The comments were confusing me. I was looking for apostrophes and quotation marks.

Duh.

Becky said...

Come play a Blogland game with me. Tag, you're it!

painted maypole said...

ha ha! that would drive me nuts, too

notice how i didn't put a perios there?

or use any capital letters?

what else can i do to drive you nuts?

the mama bird diaries said...

That is so annoying. Why do they do that? Now I'm going to notice that everywhere.

andi said...

Oh, how I giggled when I read about the semicolon a few weeks ago. Heaven forbid there should ever be proper punctuation used on signs! I'm so happy I'm not the only person who gets super irritated by stuff like this.

wheelsonthebus said...

And why is "Emergency Brake" capitalized?

Furrow said...

In the age of text messaging, I 1-D-R what we will lose in addition to punctuation.

niobe said...

?????

Mad said...

And what might I ask is wrong with the old fashioned subordinate conjunction. #3 is screaming out for a "because."

LAS said...

This is funny!

Irish Goddess said...

Ahhh, this is what I love about you.

Julia said...

I wonder whether they put the ink savings from not using end of sentence punctuation marks into the budget.
Beh.

Anonymous said...

Informal punctuation is frequently used on the Internet. I do not see this as a problem. Informal punctuation is inappropriate in a professional context, but it allows people to express themselves with a degree of flexibility that more closely approximates natural speech. The attitude that rigid rules should be applied to the use of language would make sense if languages were designed from the top down by special engineers, but they are not. Languages develop naturally. Nitpicking about grammar, punctuation, or spelling is nothing more than elitism. In some cases, written words are meant only to convey a simple message. Do you fret about the missing period on stop signs?

2KoP said...

I know this is an older post, but I just found it in a search I am doing for a tutoring student. I used to carry a Sharpie pen in my purse to correct signs with improper wording, spelling or punctuation, but I was warned that it was considered a crime. My favorite error of all time is the sign over one of the aisles in our grocery store that reads:

Feminine Hygiene/Incontinents

When I pointed out the error to the store manager, he said that it was a "corporate problem."