Tuesday, July 31, 2007

maybe it's a "queue"

Writes submitter Peter: "Originally this was just a picture of a horribly drawn arrow at a store I visited in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was only upon further inspection that I "realized" that we had only been standing in a "line." I also like the how "ENd" was a) written with a combination
of upper and lower case letters, and b) underlined twice for no apparent reason."

Perhaps this store has a history of people standing in a jumble, rather than an orderly line (or queue). Incidentally, I love the word queue. It's the only word in the english language where the only consonant is Q.

more "work" email

I'm going to start looking for other themes in poorly punctuated work mass emails. Here's one from Sara in Alexandria, VA.

To everyone:
Has anyone seen the “rubber” door stop that is used to “prop” doors open in the warehouse (it usually sits by the warehouse door – the door closer to the front door that leads into the warehouse)? If so, please return it to its designated area. We have a second door stop that is made from “wood,” but does not always seem to do the job as well. Any additional ideas would be greatly appreciated. It has been suggested to me that a second rubber door stop be ordered for our use if the other “rubber” door stop is not “discovered” within the next few days.

she adds, "in case you are wondering, the 'rubber' doorstop has yet to be 'discovered.'" I hope they have found good ways to "prop" open their doors... I really do think the fake materials is the best part of this particular email. What was this punctuator thinking?

Monday, July 30, 2007


Sorry for my recent flakiness. I just moved and am still unpacking. Here's a timely one from Barbara, who offers an argument for the inclusion of this link:

I agree that quotes are usually there for a reason in news stories - I also know that reporters don't write the headlines - but the headline writer at ABC News.com clearly wasn't a fan of John Kronus.

fair enough. Although I imagine someone else called it "untimely."

(headline reads:

Another Wrestler's 'Untimely' Death

John Kronus Found Dead in Girlfriend's N.H. Apartment)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

love, robbers

Marlo spotted this one in a Ross dressing room. I suggest it is quoted because whoever made the sign would prefer that you DID leave them unattended so he/she could steal them.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

wash your car with pizza

What's confusing about this one is that the quotes do nothing to clarify if "the works" refers to the type of car wash, or the clever name of the deal. Thanks to Jon in Minnesota.

Friday, July 27, 2007

sarcastic polite

Marlo spotted this one at Wal-Mart. I like to read it like somebody is saying it in that fakey-polite voice.

fake real

Dan writes:

Wohlers Heating & Air Conditioning, Corp, of Cottage Grove, WI, has
trucks bearing the motto


Thought you ought to know.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

good "idea"

This sign is too good. Rachael sent it to me. You have to wonder what the person who punctuated this was "thinking".


Mike was at a Pret-a-manger in London (I'm jealous) and spotted this. He writes:

I realize that a jalapeno chicken wrap is hardly anything “new”, but I won’t hold it against an establishment for applying that tagline to a product they recently began offering. The Pret a Manger in London obviously feels differently.
What’s truly strange is that all of the other hot wraps were in fact, NEW—without quotations.

Incidentally, did everyone else read that they're starting to put these in the US? I mean, nowhere near Athens, GA, but still. I'm excited about my favorite UK chain I can't pronounce crossing the Atlantic...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

ambiguous number of days

this from Martin, who is on his way to being a rock star contributor among the guilded ranks of Jim and Jon. He says it seemed like "4" days...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

clutch is a weird word though

This one was spotted by my friend Jon in Minnesota. You might think that it is correct because it's not real camels, but rest assured: there is, in fact, a camel race in MN:

sarcastic about front and back

Leah from Waterloo writes: This is from my work..the folder is where we file cheques and other such payments for the accountant to go through. I really trust the person who "can't use proper punctuation" to pay me...right. (Just kidding, she's a very nice lady).

Although I'm still wondering, does she want people to file things in front of the tabs, or not?

Monday, July 23, 2007


Jim noticed this when we went to our favorite wings place last week. They are good wings, but I guess somebody in particular said so.

a "horrible" gift

Also when we were in Helen, Jim spotted this one. The part you can't really read from the glare says "your family name history printed on a beautiful parchment." While I was looking for a gift for my mom's birthday, I found this, um, imperfect. So I guess, appropriate?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

she called it country "music"

Stephanie writes for a country music trade publication, and forwarded me an advertisement that includes this text:

SAVANNAH, TN - - (July 11, 2007) -- Darryl Worley’s Tennessee River Run presented by West Tennessee Healthcare sets talent line up for the 6th annual event. Joining Worley at the centerpiece concert event are superstar legend, “Charlie Daniels”, multi-award winning and platinum selling, Curb Records recording artist “Trick Pony” featuring their new lead singer, the beautiful and awesome, Aubrey Collins, and just coming off two consecutive hit records in “Alyssa’s Lies” and “Livin’ Our Love Song,” Arista Records recording artist, “Jason Michael Carroll”. The annual event will be held September 14 – 15, 2007 at Pickwick Landing State Park Resort in Hardin County, TN.

You know, that guy some of us call "Charlie Daniels" will be there. what's especially egregious about this example is that the song titles are (appropriately) quoted, which makes the artist names blend in instead of stand out. Silly country promoters.

also this

Saturday, July 21, 2007

alleged peanuts

Jim and I went to Helen, GA recently when he was here visiting. This chocolate shop smelled heavenly, AND featured this great sign. The fudge was a bit outside our grad student price range, but the sign and the smells made the stop in worthwhile. I love a hanging quotation mark. And imaginary ingredients.

cigarettes are "gross"

Katie sent me this. I'm tempted to believe that "tar" is a colloquial term for something else. Then again, the federal government has done weird language things before, so you never know...

Friday, July 20, 2007

this local politician "has" an education...

Three readers: Pat, Amanda and Brad all sent me a link to the smoking gun which features a letter written by a Cleveland counsilman to a drug dealer who was arrested in his neighborhood.

It is littered with unnecessary quotation marks; Pat chooses "You are a 'thug'" as a favorite. I'm also fond of the part about Mr Winston's "stupid 'ass'" especially since it comes after the part about "your so-called friends" (no quotation marks when the ironic use would be appropriate.)

Also, I'm usually just the quotation marks police, and leave other people's writing style alone. Well, on this blog anyway, but I can't let "your dumb stupid ass" go by without a comment about the redundancy and lack of creativity here...

"prompt" and "cheap"

In penance for my not posting much lately, I offer two good examples from one coupon book, sent to me by Heather:

From what I know about insurance, "saving me money" might be exactly right.

Same story with cable. I don't think I've ever had a prompt response - "prompt" is right!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

this is "my own post"

Katie forwarded this email to me, explaining, "This e-mail is from the manager of opperations, and she sent it to the whole company. She sends e-mails like this often. I really enjoy her use of bolding, underlineing, and CAPS. They all go so well with oddly place quotation marks."
Subject: Processor's Certification letter
Importance: High
You can find this fill in the blanks letter in Company Docs under Docs-All Blank Forms.
"please" do not save your info or change anything in this letter-- if you want to save or change it - save it to "YOUR OWN FILE"
Thank You, (name erased)
"please," indeed.

again with the fake names

This is quite the personals ad, looking for a woman with an assumed name, who works at a fake baby store, AND it has a lowercase L! Thanks for sending it to me, Sarah.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

with "alcohol"

Rachael sends this one to me from her local BW3's. Evidently they sell fake margaritas.

so-called "crap shooting"

Sonya in Milwaukee gets email notifications of violations and service requests in her neighborhood. This one came through recently:

Complaint description: excessive noise; This is additional information to a request sent regarding garbage and litter. The tenants at (address removed) often sit on my property across the street on almost a nightly basis. They also play their car stereos loudly and have been seen "shooting craps" on the stairs of my property. In addition, I have observed them "rolling joints" of marijuana and smoking. This property is a nuisance.

if you're going to smoke marijuana, you should really learn how to roll it right. Don't go around "rolling joints." Seriously.

I love interacting with "humans"

you have to click this picture to be able to read it. The key segment is this: your order has been reviewed by "humans."

In other words, your order has been reviewed by our trained monkey, but don't worry. He rejected it....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Count on this

While posting on my own blog I came across this picture of my license plate from a couple of years ago. Note this tribute to the recently added snarks on the right - Why That Plate? and passive aggressive notes.

The blog post expresses some deep trauma from an old wound, but nevertheless my attuned eyes caught the extra quotes on the license plate frame.
"a place that you can count on"
Don't get me started on how they ended their "sentence" with a preposition, that's a matter for another blog. I will say that my customer experience was so poor that I'm still horked off enough to write about it. So Highland Chrysler Jeep, count on "this".

Lost in Translation

I have recently frequented new Mexican and Chinese restaurants, and noticed some interesting restaurant features on their menus.

At Taco Real in Hammond, IN:

Free "chips and salsa" served with every meal. (The salsa did taste rather like tomato soup...)

On the take-out menu for J's Peapod, Lansing, IL:

"Why drive? When we deliver" hot to your door.

A case of the mondays

Jessica relays this "blanket" email which was sent to her at work. As our friends at passive aggressive notes know, work refrigerators are often a source of tension:

Ladies and Gentlemen: please excuse the “blanket” e-mail, but we (Facilities) feel a need to send this message to “all” on the third floor. We have had a number of complaints about the odor coming from the refrigerators. After sending Dave Hxxxxxx to check things out, it was discovered that someone left soup in the refrigerator too long and it turned sour. Also, strawberries were left too long and they were bad. PLEASE continue to check any food that you have stored in the refrigerator and be responsible, remove it after a day if it has not been eaten. These refrigerators are not to be used for long term storage of food. Also large items are supposed to be stored in the refrigerator in the staff dining room on the first floor. DO NOT OVERSTUFF these units, this causes poor circulation within the cooling area and ice builds up.

clearly some of the people are left out, hence the "all" included in the "blanket" email...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

more "complimentary" stuff

This one from Katharine, who found it surfing the internet. I've heard of people who pretend to have limited products to make it seem more desirable, but never pointing out their own exaggeration with quote marks. Additionally, given what I've heard about wedding decor, "sensibly priced" might be correct as well...
I am going to believe that it's called a "complimentary" consultation because they say nice things about you lik "you have such good ideas," "you're such a beautiful bride," and not because it's free.

I'm "excited."

Rhonda sent this in. I think it's as much a sin of omission as a sin of commission... knowing how these deals work, there should be quotation marks around "free." Alas, we're supposed to trust them that the "fun-filled nights" don't include slaving away in a salt mine, and that "90" doesn't really mean one hotel with ninety rooms.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

or "the mistress"

Mia found this photo here, where it comes with its own snarking. The quotation marks are pretty funny, but perhaps even funnier is the suggestion that nothing says merry christmas wifey like a WASHING MACHINE. Charming.

not really their drinks

What I really like about this one is that Armando may not actually be "famous" but at least he's not bartending under an assumed name. As for "Dale" and "LE," well, I don't know who they really are. Marnie, who sent me this photo suggests that "Dale" and "LE" might be plagiarizers, and so those drinks aren't really theirs. She also notes that she loves this restaurant, in spite of their curious punctuation.

Friday, July 13, 2007

also this one

This one is just absurd. Scott took it at the Chicago Pride Parade. Although, I suppose, this broker isn't interested in MY needs....

What might it be instead?

Evidently it's not really couscous. Thanks to Jim, who really is a champ at spotting these.


Nirvana in LA sends me this one, which barely makes sense. She suggests that it might be supposed to represent inches, but then shouldn't the quotes be facing the other way? Curious.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Rebecca in Yorkshire recently got a freecycle email with the following subject line:

Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2007 7:21 PM
Subject:[*****freecycle] Offered "School Furniture" HD7 Area

Maybe the "couple" in the previous article could use some new "furniture"

fictitious bride and groom

This Jewish couple seems to be getting married under assumed names. Thanks to Diana for the link and post title.

that silly little "job"

I jumped the queue so I wouldn't forget the privacy concerns with this one. M comments, "The president of my firm sent out this e-mail notifying the staff of my plans; the first quotes are fairly logical, as it is exactly what I said to him; the second set of quotes, though, makes me wonder if I should submit this e-mail to passiveaggressivenotes.com, as well...."

Indeed. Good luck with your new "career," if you must call it that, M.

I know I "am"

Cliff noticed this one upon opening his web browser recently. While I am often kind to headlines, I can't think of a good way to justify this one, since the words are so vernacular. Unless this is some kind of existential comment...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I guess the guests aren't so dear

This photo was taken by Bess on her honeymoon who sent it to her brother Bayne (turns out unnecessary quotation marks is a joke in their family too). Bayne sent it to me, and good thing he did. I'm not sure I'd want to stay at this place since I may or may not be a "guest" and the towels may or may not be "clean"...

it's not OUR warning

Daniela sends us this from a highchair in a chinese restaurant. It has really ridiculous levels of emphasis (evidently SECURE and NEVER are less important than WARNING). Maybe they mean to say "hey, it's not our warning. We're quoting someone else. Don't shoot the messenger!"

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

at least they nested correctly

Another one from senior contributor Jim. The offending section is the bottom - "a place where 'love' meets!" Now, if it had just the outside quotes it would be your borderline slogan, but the quotes-within-quotes around the word love really make this one a classic. And by love, we don't actually mean any kind of Christian love....

smoking observation

When Scott first saw this sign he meant if you observe smoking like it's a holiday. "I'm sorry, I'm an observant smoker and it's Yom Kippur..." It's good to know that they are "serious" about the "No Re-entry."

the "blog" in "print"

Long time readers will know that a few months ago I expressed my desire for this blog to be covered by print media. Well, today, thanks to Brian Cooper of the Dubuque, Iowa Telegraph Herald, that dream is a reality.

I'm pretty excited. Thanks Brian!

(permanent link to article on Brian's blog).

I don't "believe" it...

Spotted by D. L. in Providence, RI. "Truth" indeed - that really captures conspiracy theories where they live, doesn't it?

Monday, July 09, 2007

because it's a mob front

Amy and her husband didn't "visit" this gallery in midtown NYC. I don't know if I would trust their "shipping" to arrive on time anyway. Maybe they really aren't interested in "customers"?

not actually polite

Kate spotted this in a small hotel on the washington coast. You can sense the insincerity of their politeness, I think...


Katie spotted this one at a restaurant, and survived a strange look from the cashier while taking this photo. Evidently the color may or may not really be blue. I won't even get into the confusing syntax in the rest of this sign...

same restaurant. Katie's id, however, did not get to eat for free. Neither did it earn her a free meal.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

you make a better door...

Jon in Minnesota spotted this one in Eden Prairie Mall. I think here the quotes denote a pun, which is another of those borderline areas, like slogans.

they aren't really selling anything

Reader Julia sent me this sign. I would be a little sketched out by a "sale" myself... Julia adds that she didn't get a chance to photograph the back, which lacks the quotes on "sale" and puts them instead around "seniors helping seniors". There was a senior headed her way, yelling, and she didn't want to have to "buy" anything.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

"freedom days"

Jamie sent me the link to the registration form for the "freedom days" fun run. She points out that really the quotes should be around "fun" because, um, it involves running. I agree.

Speaking of freedom, I'll be out of town until Sunday. You'll survive without me somehow.

"messages," as it were

Jen in Scotland writes "I'm a volunteer at my local hospital radio station, and we have a book for 'messages', provided for us by 'Mike' if that really is his real name..."


I've recently received two submissions that are not in English. The first was spotted by Jim in Koreatown LA:

Since neither of us read Korean, we can't tell for sure if these are appropriate or not, but don't they LOOK like they could be wrong? The second one is from a belgian website:

Jan helpfully translates the last line into english: Send us (without any further obligations) an "email" message.

Now, maybe in Belgian you put foreign words in quotes (in English it's standard to use italics) but maybe "email" is their secret sarcastic term for a fax?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Perhaps the quotation marks are to draw attention to the fact that, while our country may be independent from great britain, we rely economically on the third world to supply raw materials and cheap labor. What really makes this sign special, though, is the extra opening quotes. Classic.

Thanks to Lisa in NYC who spotted and photographed this one.

ok, I'll "stay out of it" then

Elzear supplied the title of this post, and this comment, "Bless these little co-conspirators for letting me know that the whole 'supposed' 'so-called' bike-lane 'closure' thing isn't really to be taken all that seriously."

hip terms for corn like "on the cob"

I am actually a big fan of allrecipes.com - I've gotten some great recipes off of there including a spinach dip that everyone loved at my recent birthday party. However, it is mildly amusing that they included this phrasing on their website recently:

Corn in the U.S.A.

Chowders, salads, salsas, chili--not to mention "on the cob!" Get recipes for this versatile summertime favorite.

"on the cob"? I imagine that these quotes are meant to indicate "as the kids are saying these days" or whatever, but is there some other more formal term for corn on the cob? Sam, who sent me this one, also points out that the exclamation points adds just a little bit more humor.

Monday, July 02, 2007

eye-witness story

When my friend Jon filled out this form for his movers, one of the movers labelled it, "billing address," complete with quotes, before his VERY EYES!

hockey is not really a high brow sport

I wonder if, as "Hockey Royalty" they get to "christen ships" and wear "crowns"? Thanks to Nirvana who spotted this in LA, and is also awesome.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

don't "drill" on this bus

This sticker was spotted by Skye (who apparently has two blogs) on the wall of a city bus in Austin, TX. I didn't know that people drilled on bus walls generally. Maybe it's a euphemism, hence the quotation marks.


Today is the two-year anniversary of the "blog"! Huzzah! Thanks to everybody who reads, links, and most of all submits. Without all of you it's just a website I find something to post on every couple of weeks.

Incidentally, I was just looking at my blogroll here and discovered that apostrophe abuse and lowercaseL both also started in July '05. That is a very strange coincidence, although I suspect so many similar styled blogs started at the same time due to the growing availability of cameraphones.

best ash in town

Crystal sends this pun-laden example our way. Maybe it's in quotation marks because really Ms Campion's dad made that joke. You know dad jokes...