7 day indoor market opening soon further info contact

Stan Carey - further info

A little punctuation, well chosen and well placed, goes a long way. So does consideration for your readers, even if you’re only writing a publicity notice to stick on a window.


Stan Carey - íoc & taispeáin, with Tironian et

The Tironian et is quite rare, except in some Irish typefaces. See here for more examples of its various forms, and here for my earlier post about ampersands. Note also the dotless Irish ι.


Stan Carey - Butcher's

Location: the back of a company van. After noticing the careful apostrophe, I was surprised to see such a mangled arrangement of comma and full stop in the company address.


Stan Carey - Fat Tony's

This sign design is just fine. You could say it’s at the cutting edge. Compare it with the following design, which incorporates a scissors in a very different fashion:

Stan Carey - g barbers

12 Responses to 7 day indoor market opening soon further info contact

  1. Grandad says:

    There was a sign I used to know and love, outside a coffee shop –

    “Fresh sandwiches to sit in or take away”

  2. Sean Jeating says:

    Well, and after sitting in a fresh sandwich a cigarette.
    Waitress appearing: “No smoking table”. – “Ah that’s good, Mylady. I’d not like to sit at a smoking table.”

    [And thus ended the episode: Waitress smiling, moving the sign to another table and bringing me an ashtray. – Well, that happened 24 years ago …]

  3. Stan says:

    Grandad: That’s a great sign! If only all coffee shops made such sandwiches. I’m sure there are even people who would like to sit in a fresh coleslaw sandwich, and I’m sure I wouldn’t try to stop them.

    Sean: You have a good memory! That’s a fine example of how two people talking to each at the same time can have entirely different conversations.

  4. Faldone says:

    While some punctuation in “7 day indoor market opening soon further info contact” might not suffer from some punctuation I’m having difficulty seeing how one could misinterpret the sign.

  5. Faldone says:

    Boy did I garble that. The first line should read “While ‘7 day indoor market opening soon further info contact’ might not …”

  6. Stan says:

    Faldone: Yes, the message would certainly be difficult to misinterpret. But consider the difference a full stop after “soon” would make. Or an exclamation mark! If I were to fuss over it without introducing new words, I might add a hyphen in “7-day” and a colon elsewhere, but these are editorial embellishments; a single strong stop in the middle of the sign would confer instant lucidity upon it.

  7. Faldone says:

    Now I saw one recently that was very easy to misinterpret and conveyed exactly the opposite of the intended meaning:


    Island Health is health spa that is adjacent to a bank. It had been common for patrons of the spa to park in the bank parking lot and the bank apparently has decided to get serious with illegal parking.

  8. Stan says:

    Faldone: The bank sign you saw is a good illustration of the risks of forgoing punctuation. Presumably the person who prepared the sign saw nothing wrong with it, yet its meaning – as you point out – is completely inverted.

    Beginning a sign with “No” may increase the risk of miscues: here is an example I posted a few months ago, and here is one from the Engine Room blog. (This is a tentative hypothesis that might not withstand a second mug of tea.)

  9. Signs or sentences without punctuation always make me feel a little breathless as it seems as if the person writing them is firing out all the words in a sense of frenzied urgency without any pause and they also resemble in some strange way forms of minimalist poetry not unlike William Carlos Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow” (see here for text of said poem).

    After re-reading the above sentence, I need a cup of tea!

  10. Stan says:

    So do I! Luckily I have a brew in a pot beside me.

    What you say is true, Doubtful – such sentences do read breathlessly. And I’m glad you’ve spoken up for the inadvertent poetry of the piece. Sometimes I read marketing slogans and they slide in a Beat rhythm; sometimes I frown and find fault with their punctuation. It’s as though I had the hay fever, and not you! (How is it, by the way?)

    However, after re-reading The Red Wheelbarrow, I have decided that I prefer it to 7 Day Indoor Market.

    (Edit: I hyperlinked the Red Wheelbarrow link in your comment, because there was a bracket stuck to it that I couldn’t remove without leaving a pesky space.)

  11. Faldone says:

    Stan: That Engine room example is is of the same form as the ubiquitous (in the USA)


    The intended meaning is that if you come in without shoes or a shirt you won’t be served. Applying this logic to the Engine Room sign and what it means is that if you’re not wearing a hat or a hood you won’t get any alcohol.

  12. Stan says:

    That’s one way of interpreting it, Faldone. JD supplies another, under the photo. Either way, there is an embedded illogic.

    Have you ever seen suitable punctuation used in the sign you cite (NO SHOES / NO SHIRT / NO SERVICE)?

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