Bloopers in English: Signs

atkins bookshelf wordsMany cinephiles enjoy the blooper or gag reels included as bonuses in DVD releases of popular movies. The word blooper, defined as an “unintended indiscretion before microphone and camera” was introduced by Kermit Schaefer, a television producer, in the 1950s. Schaefer produced albums, titled Pardon My Blooper!, that were compilations of bloopers from radio and television shows. The word is derived from the term “blue person,” an employee that used a blue pencil to cross out sensitive or classified material from letters and documents during wartime.

Although bloopers occur in television, film, and radio, they occur even more frequently in everyday speech and writing all around us. These common mistakes come in various forms: malapropisms, egg corns, spoonerisms, neologisms, misspellings, mispronunciations, or just poor grammar. Lexicographer Richard Lederer — known as Attila the Pun, Conan the Grammarian, the Viceroy of Verbivores, and Abbot of Absurdity — has been collecting bloopers for decades in the Anguished English series of books.

Here are some bloopers featured in signs:

Restaurant: Shoes required to eat inside.

Dry Cleaner: Drop your pants and skirts here, and you will receive prompt attention.

Travel Agency: Don’t take a chance on ruining your vacation. Come to us to be sure.

Office Breakroom: After the tea break staff should empty the teapot and stand upside down on the draining board.

Bookstore: Rare, out-of-print, and nonexistent books.

Supermarket: Only service dogs allowed in building.

Laundromat: When the light goes on, please remove all your clothes.

Cemetery: Due to the grave-diggers’ strike, all grave digging for the duration will be done by a skeleton crew.

Read related posts: What Rhymes with Orange?
The Most Mispronounced Words
Words with Letters in Alphabetical Order
Difficult Tongue Twisters
Word Oddities: Fun with Vowels100 Words Almost Everyone Mispronounces
The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations

For further reading: The Revenge of Anguished English by Richard Lederer (2005)

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