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Tree Sign

guarantee.jpg (7874 bytes)

I saw this sign outside an Ace hardware store.

Why is "tree" singular but "shrubs" is plural?

And it's "1-year," with a hyphen, not "1 year."

But forget that, what the heck does the slash between tree and shrubs even mean?   Does it mean "Tree divided by shrubs"?  Does it mean, God forbid, "Tree and/or shrubs"?  Is it possible the signwriter is unaware of the word and?  Apparently not, as we see from the reference to the firm of Receipt & Dead.

Anyway, sheesh, what hicks.  Anyone with any larnin' knows there's no U in "garntee."


Slashes are mostly evil, so avoid them.  Say what you mean.  If you mean "and," say "and."  If you mean "or," say "or."

Here's a riotous example from an e-mail I received.

We are planning a . . . fundraiser for either July 12/July 26.  We would be selling hotdogs/hamburgers, chips and water/soda for the volunteers who arrive those days.

The sender of this email seems to have believed that

either July 12/July 26

was better, somehow clearer and more unconfusable, than

either July 12 or July 26.  Sheesh.

We know from the word "either" that she had to mean the slash to stand for the simple, ordinary word "or," so why wouldn't she say that?

And what is meant by

hotdogs/hamburgers, chips and water/soda?

The first slash might mean hotdogs [sic] AND hamburgers or it might mean hot dogs OR hamburgers.  Then we get to chips, which we know for sure "would be sold for [sic] volunteers", but then we get to water, which we know will or won't be sold, along with soda, which we know will or won't be sold.

If this were a joke it would be pretty good, but it's not.

Anytime you find yourself typing the slash key, stop and delete it and make sure that's the best you can do before you re-type it.

And anytime you find yourself about to speak the word slash as punctuation, slap yourself in the face first.



Update of October 31, 2011: I found this sign outside a Home Depot store.  As you can see, they got trees right but they got shrubs wrong.

Coincidence?  (Also, that's almost all of my motorcycle in the background at the left.)

I think not.


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