Image by mhuang via Flickr
When Jan read my post called “Can we really expect the unexpected?” which is really about words and phrases that aroused my curiosity, he asked me if I have another list which he can feature in his blog with me as his guest blogger.
Such an honor is definitely not something you want to pass up. But there’s a problem: I don’t really have another list. So I whacked my brains out… walked around the city… dug old notes… browsed books and magazines… scrounged around so I can write my second list.
And these are (the best of) what I can come up with – signs, words and phrases that you might want to take a second look at.
Buy one, take one
The complete sentence should be “Buy one, take another one free!” but for marketing purposes it was shortened to “buy one, take one.” However, one sleek businessman does not give “free one” to his customers even though he has the sign “buy one, take one” in his store.
When a customer complains, the store owner’s ready answer would be, “I’m not cheating! That sign is correct. When you only buy one, of course you will only take one!”
So you had better pin down any ambiguity the next time you see the sign in any establishment.
No parking on both sides
It was actually my English teacher in college who mentioned to us this street sign. She said it is definitely wrong because no vehicle can park on both sides, unless it is really big or long enough to cover both sides once it’s parked.
She said the correct sign should be “No parking on either side.”
I have always wondered about this. Why do they refer to it as drive-thru when they don’t let vehicles inside the store? And you don’t actually drive-thru, but you drive around instead.
Just imagine the damage it would create once you try to drive through any restaurant.
A very common term for the elevator, and rightly so, because it ‘lifts’ you up and takes you to higher floors in the building.
But what about when you’re going down? Is it appropriate to say that you are being ‘lifted down?’ Haven’t really heard of a movie with the dialogue, “let’s take the lift to go down.”
Okay, this is actually included in the original post. But I really want to know… if a spouse is referred to as the better-half, what kind of half does that make of the other party?
A perfect example of how we only want to see things from our ‘own point of view’ even if science has already proven that the sun doesn’t rise nor set. It is actually the Earth which revolves around the sun.
But I guess, in the absence of a more convenient term, we’ll do with sunrise and sunset for a long time.
When I see this sign in any establishment, I’m always itching to rush inside the store and ask the store owner, “What now? What’s the problem?” Signs like these are like Bat Signals to a loony on the loose like me.
“Now hiring” or “Looking for” I guess would make a more comprehensible sign, don’t you agree?
PIN Number, TIN Number, etc.
Isn’t that redundant? The ‘N’ in the acronym already stands for the word ‘Number’ so by saying ‘PIN Number’ you are in effect reciting it as ‘Personal Identification Number Number!’
Saying PIN and TIN alone would do.
LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas. See above.
It hurts when they say your ID is expired, when the expiration actually refers to the privileges attached to the ID card – such as a driver’s license or a professional practitioner’s license.
And I have a separate post about this, where I argue that an expired ID card should be considered a valid ID, because in fact it is. The sole purpose of requesting for an ID is to ID or identify a person. An expired ID card doesn’t change who you are – you’re still the same person on the ID for heaven’s sake!
Press ENTER to exit
This is a classic because you don’t see it these days anymore. Lucky for you if you haven’t encountered this during the pre-Windows era. I am referring to those who have been using computers during those DOS prompt days, and some applications would suddenly flash in your screen “Press ENTER to exit.”
There you are… my latest finds of ordinary words and phrases. They are supposed to be innocent… until I chanced upon them.
How about you – are there words or phrase that leaves you scratching your head in puzzlement? What other expressions have stumped you lately?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roy is a prolific blogger, poet, short story writer and entrepreneur. He pens The Struggling Blogger and presides over a constellation of 12 other blogs covering his varied interests. Roy is a widower and practices brinkmanship daily as he doubles as a mother to his three kids. It’s this daily struggle that inspired the name for his flagship blog, but to me it’s his commitment that largely informs his writing which are spread over 13 blogs. Visit Roy’s blogs and discover what perseverance, courage and integrity really mean as applied to blogging.
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