What Do They Mean .........?

on Sunday, January 31, 2010

"What DO they mean?" I came across this advertisement panel at my local shopping mall promoting a men's skin care facility. Another service for the enlightened metro-sexual male, no doubt. It even offers a facial and a tummy sculpting for the price of one procedure. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I could probably do with some tummy sculpturing but in my case, the end result will probably still not resemble hard and clearly chiseled sculpture abs like
that of Michelangelo's David; probably more like the abs on the Pilsbury Doughboy. But what really caught my attention was there pledge, boldly emblazoned across the advert, "Looking Good is Not an Option at MSC". Whatever DO they mean?

So, I may not be a hunk but at least I am cute.

Yes? Maybe? A little? Please?

Anyway, it got me thinking of a few examples of other similar failures to communicate appropriately in the English Language.

A common sign that you will see in Malaysian retail stores during our sales season reads, "Buy one free one". I remember one foreign tourist asking the sales clerk to explain; "If it is free, why do I have to buy it?" The intended message would be clearer if it said "Two for the price of one."

Sometimes, you can't be 100% sure that there was a mistake made or that the sign really does mean what it says. When the Petronas Twin Towers (previously the world's tallest building) first opened to the public, not all the lifts and escalators were fully operational. On one such lift which was meant to ferry visitors from the underground carpark up to the lobby was this sigh that read, "Lift is out of order. Any convenience is deeply regretted."

What do you think? A language error or the work of a sadistic maintenance worker?

Another favorite of mine was a sign at a teachers' training workshop which read like this; "After lunch, the Modern Maths workgroup will meet in the larger half of the hall."

The "larger half"? Is that what they mean by "modern" maths or is it that mathematics is finally reconciling itself to the fact that in this world, the reality is that all people are equal but some are more equal than others?


the walking man said...

Communication of ideas is oft corrupted by language.

I'd buy David if I could have The Pieta for free.

secret agent woman said...

And you know, the guy in the ad looks a little distressed to discover that being attractive isn't an option.

Here the signs say BOGO (Buy one, get one) so it's not too different. It used to be Buy one, get one free which at least made sense, but soem marketing genius liked the symmetry of BOGO better.

Anonymous said...

I love those types of signs. They crack me up. Unfortunately, my language skills are not all that great sometimes either...but it doesn't stop me from laughing at others. :) I know that's bad.

patterns of ink said...

Funny stuff. I once looked like David but now I favor the Pillsbury Doughboy.

It's been ages. I'm glad to see you're still active in the blogosphere. I lost touch with all of my bookmarked favorites when my laptop crashed. It has now been restored and your address was still on it.

As of Friday, I am a grandpa. This is my way of handing out cigars! See pictures of Nora Paige at:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a good laugh!! It is amazing how some people can fracture the english language. Betty

geewits said...

"Buy one free one" could have an entirely new meaning if it were posted at a shop that sold live chickens or lobsters for food.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Corrupted language is very entertaining, don't you think?

Secret agent woman,
Hmm. Yes, BOGO does not make sense. If I buy one, I expect to get one.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

We all make mistakes with language. I have highlighted some of my own mistakes in earlier posts.

long time no see and hear. Congrats on becoming a grandpa. I don't smoke anyway, so I'd rather visit Nora at your blog than get a cigar!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

English can be fun!

That is a very interesting interpretation of "buy one, free one". Haha. .......say, do you belong to PETA?

Anonymous said...

Ha ha -- Geewits... I love the maths one. I would be reluctant to keep sending my kids to that school.

Anonymous said...

The larger half is very nice!
At the moment I resemble a version of Bibendum, I never was called David. But I am starting to search the david in me. Yep. I will. Soon. And for the ad - no, I am sorry, I have no idea what it is about.

geewits said...

LGS, heck no! You'll never see me going crazy for any cause unless they try to bring back prohibition.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Don't be too harsh on the teachers. Do you remember when your mom made you share a slice of cake with a sibling and she sliced it down the middle but yet you were sure that your sibling always got the "larger" half? The larger half does exist! At least in our minds.

Haha. I have now learned about Bibendum. As for the advert, it should have said "At MSC, looking good is not an option, it is a certainty." That would mean that there was no option except for looking good. But when it reads "At MSC, looking good is not an option" it means that there are options but looking good is not one of them. That is why we should not visit this shop.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Wow! I shall have to remember not to stand between you and your beer. Cheers.

Jo said...

This made me laugh out loud.

A friend of mine sent me a photograph recently of a sign she saw that read:

"Please do not feed the fishes with your private."

... one can only imagine ...

日月神教-向左使 said...


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