Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Are the Brits going to master English?

Loved the sign I saw in Central London and wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

Funny they wanted cars in the lane instead of out of it
What caught my eye was the implied obligation. Why did traffic positively have to use the games lane? And just what were the authorities going to do with the rest of the road?

So, back in the same place today, it was fascinating to see a completely different sign.

Getting it together with the English, but no cigar yet
That’s an improvement, isn’t it? At least the sense of obligation’s gone.

Of course, it doesn’t actually tell us anything we didn’t already know. It’s obvious that any car could use the lane, the only question was whether the driver would collect a fine for doing so.

Ah, well. Who knows. One of these days the London authorities might really learn their English and start to use the word ‘may’.

Then we’d be really motoring.


Anonymous said...

I am not over-enamoured of the word "may".
When we sat for the School Certificate exams (early last century), the exam papers began with:

Candidates may attempt 5 questions.

Nowhere was it spelled out what would have happened had we attempted ALL. Or for that matter if ONE answer might not have been sufficient.


David Beeson said...

I suppose if candidates attempted all the questions, they might get a good mark in Maths, but a poor one in English.