Sunday, April 30, 2006

Some Basic Comparative & Superlative Adjectives

This sign was found at one of the checkout counters at Giant IMM.

This is somewhat tricky for most Singaporeans.

Consider the following

Positive Comparative Superlative
A Less Lesser Least
B Little Less Least

Our example above should have been 'Use Less Bags' since the intention was to use the it as an adjective (A). It modifies Bags (How many bags? 1, 2, 3...Less).

'Lesser' only appears as a comparative adjectve (A) when you need to compare across two things such as 'lesser of the two evils', a common phrase.

In situation B when we are refering to something very little and few (POSITIVE), its comparative would be 'less/fewer'. E.g. We don't say 'You exercise less' unless it is a comparative 'You exercise less than [someone]' where the object is obliterated.
This is known as null-comparision.

For more discussion on 'less' and 'lesser', you can refer to

Most Singaporeans need more practice in the Engllish language, so that we make less of these mistakes and least of all, support the 'Speak Good English' campaign ( or 'write' for that matter).

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Conjugate Pairs



Typically Singaporean. To -ED or not to -ED. The former used to have even more mistakes. I think this is version 2.0 - still wrong.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

CineNow flyer

CineNow operates a chain of automated DVD rental outlets. This is the flyer where they attempt to persuade customers to register with them.

Sign-up, signup, sign up today!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Let's Play a Game

Location: Republic Polytechnic
Let's see here - how many mistakes can you spot in this notice?

I saw this the other day while walking past the toilets of a partially completed building - moments later, this chap came walking along, eating some bread rolls... all of sudden, he became an administrative charge.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Hit-and-run Accident Notice

Location: Jurong West Avenue 1
Will the one and only witness to this tragic/despicable act please call the police right away?

A Day at the Expo

Location: Singapore Expo

Children wear what?

Indonesian Spelling

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

In need of replies

".... Please revert as soon as possible."

Sounds familiar to you? Many Singaporeans (including well-educated ones) fail to grasp the definition of REVERT.

REVERT means ‘To return to a former condition, practice, subject, or belief.’

When indicating that you will ‘get back’ to someone with an answer, use ‘REPLY’ or ‘WRITE BACK (to you).

So please refrain from reverting to the use of 'revert' when you actually mean to say 'reply'.

Another highly common REcurring shocker is IRREGARDLESS, which I found in a letter to parents written by one of NTU's senior faculty staff, when the user meant to say REGARDLESS.

As the Chinese saying goes, 上梁不正下梁歪...but let's not even go there....

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Doublebill: bad taste and engrish at the same time

Where ever, in deed.

Promote OpenOffice

Software evangelism has never been so good with these people around.

"Have you considered sharing some CD-Roms with your colleagues and friends? Burn them yourself!"

Monday, April 10, 2006

Uh, Which Way?

Location: Jurong West Avenue 1
Now, this doesn't exactly qualify as an example of bad English, but the errors on the signboard are so glaring that it's worth a mention.

First, the signboard would make sense only if one person walks past. Next, which way does it refer to when it says this way?

"Monkey see, monkey do" as they say; one may find identical signs at construction sites throughout the island.

Cathay Presents!

Yes, a movie set in the southern continent.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

AXS Machine

Trying to pay a bill at an AXS Machine, I saw this. For those not in the know, these are various automated payment terminals scattered around the island, enabling to pay one's bills & fines, buy tickets and so on, electronically with the use of a debit card.

'can be process'? A typical example of how Singaporeans make a mess of the Passive Voice. That should read 'can be processed' - not 'can be process'. Similar mistakes abound everywhere - just last night, a menu I was reading described a dish as 'serve with chips on the side'. Then there are all those twits who describe themselves as having 'a fit and tone body'.

I'd remind readers that this is a payment terminal for paying, among other bodies, the Government. Use of bad English at this level is inexcusable.

CD contents include...

Publicity material is a non-count indefinite noun.
Use better punctuation.
Really, you included compliments in the CD itself? Oh my.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Talk More Pay Lesser

This came from a Singtel ad in the Post Office at Teck Whye.

Talk More, Pay Lesser? Dear Gods. Don't they have ANYBODY to proof-read for them?

Unique Seafood Market

This doesn't strictly count as an example of Bad English - 'Unique Seafood Market' is a bit odd but not really Bad English. It's the translation into Chinese that's the screamer - the two characters above 'UNIQUE' actually translate to 'Weird' or 'Strange'.

Monster Prawns (a la Alien Baltan from Ultraman)... or three-headed Fish, perhaps?

It must've been made in China

Straw dispenser in a Toa Payoh Herbal Tea Shop

[via Jonathan John Paul Sim]

Anti-Shoplifting Campaign Ad

The National Crime Prevention Council could use a lesson or two in English grammar.

Watch Your Steps

That's on the two floormats at McCafe at Lido, Singapore.
Welcome to Poblem Engrish!

We're here to show you examples of BAD ENGLISH in Singapore (and around the world in places that really should know better).

Watch out as we post soon...