Monday, October 15, 2007

English campaigners against senseless signs

Linked from

On September, 2007. London campaigners who fight for the effective use of English attacked a growing tendency for obvious and senseless public information posters and instructions, such as a police sign: "Don't Commit Crime."
"They assume a lack of intelligence on the part of the reader - says their spokeswoman. 'Do not commit crime. Pay for your fuel' is hardly a deterrent to a criminal who has every intention of driving off without paying."
The Plain English Campaign cited other examples including:
"Warning: Platform ends here" on the end of rail station platforms,
"May cause drowsiness" on sleeping pills,
"Warning: contains nuts" labeled on packets of nuts,
"Caution: water on road during rain"
"May irritate eyes" on a can of self-defense pepper spray,
"Do not open door while airborne except in emergency" on emergency exit doors in planes,
"Removing the wheel can influence the performance of the bicycle" from a Dutch bicycle manual,
"Do not iron clothes on body" from packaging on a steam iron,
Supermarket Tesco - which also warns shoppers that cream contains milk and that salted butter contains milk and salt - defended itself, saying it gave customers "all the possible information they should need."
The Plain English Campaign said politicians were also guilty of the trend.
"Politicians declaring 'We are taking the terrorist threat very seriously', or 'We are committed to improving the health service' is just rhetoric," he said.
He added: "Our advice would be say what you need to plainly and simply then stop. If nothing needs to be said, say nothing."