(September 1994) English as she is writ

With so many English-speaking tourists visiting their countries, some foreign hoteliers and other businessmen are trying to inform, help or warn tourists by means of notices carefully prepared in their best English. Sometimes such notices do not quite say what was intended. Here are some examples from around the World, provided to us by one of our readers.

  • A notice at the old Moscow airport: ‘If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.’
  • Japanese hotel notice: ‘You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.’
  • Croatian hotel notice: ‘The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.’
  • German camp site notice: ‘It is strictly forbidden for people of different sex, for instance, men & women, to live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.’
  • Hong Kong dentist’s advert: ‘Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.’

Not that English~speaking countries are immune from such slips of the pen. The following are from church bulletin boards.

  • ‘There will be meetings in both the North and South ends of the Church. Children will be baptized at both ends.’
  • ‘The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the church basement on Friday afternoon.’

Perhaps other readers know of similar gems that they would like to share with us all.