Another dot in the blogosphere?

When the small things matter

Posted on: July 30, 2016

Sign: Slow -- Look out for pedestrian crossing.

I shared this photo in a recent tweet.

Written as is, this sign reminds drivers to look out for a traffic light, overhead bridge, or zebra crossing. Why was there a need to warn people about pedestrian crossings? Were the lights shooting lasers, the bridge about to collapse, or actual zebras crossing the road?

The intended message was for drivers to watch for pedestrians. The message could have been “Look out for pedestrians crossing” or more simply “Look out for pedestrians”.

Common to both alternatives was the missing “s” in pedestrian in the original sign. The missing “s” changed the intended “people walking across/near your vehicle” to “what people use to cross a road”.

If the person who designed the sign learnt to write copy, he or she would realise that “crossing” was not necessary. If people are moving by a road and not in a vehicle, they are pedestrians.

Reminding drivers to “Look out for pedestrians” suffices. There is no need to qualify that they are crossing. What else would they do where that sign is? Flying, running, gyrating, or in my case, photographing?

I am not even going to try to explain what a “slow look out” is.

Call me a Grammar Nazi, but this matters. The small things matter because they add up. Ignoring these small things means we do not care. Not caring opens the door to a lack of pride or professionalism.

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