Grammar enthusiasts stop mistakes happening

So The Physicist and I currently live near this which currently looks like this

so we see a fair few construction related signs.

I had to chuckle when I saw this though:

There’s definitely some missing punctuation in there, and there are a number of options! Much like the wonderfully named “Let’s Eat, Grandpa! Let’s Eat Grandpa! (Punctuation saves lives)” blog (I am a huge fan of Cori’s), astute comma placement here would be useful.

I think the intention is “Pedestrian, stop! Vehicles (are) reversing.” In that I, as a pedestrian, am advised not to charge blindly around the corner in case an enormous tipper truck happens to be reversing silently (which I think is impossible these days; the number of times I have been woken up by *beep* *beep* VEHICLE REVERSING *beep* *beep*…).

An alternative interpretation is a command: “Pedestrian: stop vehicles reversing!” which is optimistic on the part of the sign-writer, I feel… I don’t have all that many magical vehicle-stopping powers.

And the third interpretation I’ve noticed is the suggestion that the sign marks a place of rest for a pedestrian: “(This is a) pedestrian stop. Vehicles reversing.” Along the lines of “Bus stop. Passengers wait here.” (I’ll admit this one is tenuous).

Anyone see any other interpretations? And anyone see how cleverly I have constructed a similarly ambiguous title?

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7 thoughts on “Grammar enthusiasts stop mistakes happening

  1. The Book Whisperer 16 May 2012 at 6:03 pm Reply

    Ha ha, I love this! My favourite is “Pedestrian: stop vehicles reversing!”

    Not punctuation related, but sign related (and made me laugh): I saw a sign on holiday once that had obviously been translated for tourists and I think it was warning us to be careful not to slip. It read “Don’t fall down”. Oh, OK then.

  2. mareelouise 17 May 2012 at 5:16 am Reply

    I dare you to get a magic marker and mark it up as number 2!

  3. Cori 18 May 2012 at 12:28 am Reply

    So very funny! I can picture people standing behind the trucks with their hands out, yelling, “Stop!!” But since they can’t be heard over the “beep beep,” they are crushed. (Comically, at least in my head. Like a cartoon steamroller.)

    • readingwithtea 18 May 2012 at 7:46 am Reply

      Well as it’s unlikely to ever happen in reality (that a pedestrian thinks they have the power to stop the truck), we can stick with the comic version in your head 🙂

  4. Nose in a book 21 May 2012 at 7:04 pm Reply

    Hilarious! I dream of a world where signage actually gets proof read.

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