Monday, September 1, 2008

Pedantry wins again!

Have you ever been in the express lane and fumed quietly to yourself that the sign saying "10 items or less" is horribly, horribly wrong and setting a poor example for our kids?

Tesco has.

In fact, Tesco has taken it one step farther. They are taking down all their "10 items or less" signs and replacing them.

What with?

I bet you thought "10 items or fewer."

You were wrong.

The new signs say "Up to 10 items." That's in order to stop people from arguing about whether "less" or "fewer" is correct.

To give credit where credit is due, it was The Plain English Campaign that suggested the change.

If you've got a few spare moments, go dig on the Plain English Campaign's website. If nothing else, check out their annual awards -- "Foot In Mouth" (baffling comments by public figures), "Golden Bulls" ("year's 'best' examples of gobbledygook"), "Inside Write" (government documents that obfuscate), Media Awards (publications that do not rely on big words and complex constructions), Plain English Awards (best documents of the year that explain their concepts in plain English without resorting to gobbledygook), and the Web award (web sites with plain and proper English).

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