Missing words on British signs

I was walking to work yesterday (sob!) when I noticed the following two signs in the same block:

“Hotel name not responsible for damage done to bicycles left against this gate”

“Apologise for inconvenience caused during these necessary repairs”

These are merely representative of something that I’ve noticed in the last few months. It’s not just me, right? There are words missing from these signs.

“Hotel name IS not responsible for damage done to bicycles left against this gate”

WE Apologise for inconvenience caused during these necessary repairs”

(Or anyone, really, it doesn’t have to be “we” just some subject.) So it’s a missing verb in one case, a missing subject in the other. Is this like the utterance (that I still can’t parse) “Big Issue, Big Issue Please” Missing a verb, maybe an article? “Big Issue, buy a Big Issue Please” ? or from the same post, “Can I help?” Or my other favorite, “Sale continues in store.” (Instore may be one word instead of two.) I’ll never know what the missing words are or why. But in the two cases that start out this post, in signs of those length, it’s hard to argue that they just dropped a two letter word for the purposes of space…

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6 responses to “Missing words on British signs

  1. Yes, they drop a few words but they compensate for it with fancier words like “against”, “whilst”. etc. also is the word “necessary” really necessary for the second sign you saw? “we are sorry for the inconvenience during ongoing repairs” would have been fine. Incidentally, my husband (who is Brit) often says “I’ve never been” (end of sentence) and not “I’ve never been there.” missing words again. 🙂

  2. The English were used to “telegraphic” messages where words were ommittted .
    SMS text could replace the future warnings……………BWARE…..! U R WARND B REDY
    Rita.

  3. I’ve been wondering about this myself. I read a lot of British news online and I also watch a lot of British shows, and I can’t help but notice certain prepositions are omitted at the end of sentences where Americans would never dare omit them. For example:

    “Many people are now realising the EU may not be the cure-all it was billed.”

    This just seems wrong, as the EU was billed (advertised) AS a cure-all. The ‘as’ is part of the verb structure, so the sentence should probably read:

    “Many people are now realising the EU may not be the cure-all it was billed as.”

    In order to remove the ‘as,’ the sentence must be changed by adding a conjunction:

    “Many people are now realising the EU may not be the cure-all THAT was billed.”

    I know there is an old rule against ending sentences with prepositions, but doesn’t this only apply to prepositions that are not strictly required by the verb?

  4. Although people round these parts (Chicago) saying “Do you want to come with” instead of “come with US”. They also say “Look at” when they’re trying to get you to look at something. Very interesting.

  5. They also messed up the spelling of “apologize.” 😉

  6. Pingback: Signs, Signs Everywhere a Sign | Not From Around Here

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