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Random Illustrations: Separated by Common Language

Remember my posts about usage differences in English language? Here is a little illustration. As I was walking by this sign posted at a construction sight, I had to stop and spend a few moments to juggle the different meanings of the words in my head so they fit together.

It’s just one underground pedestrian passage that’s out of commission, not the whole subway system.


  1. Nathan

    Even with your explanation, I don’t get how that means what you say it means.

    I mentioned that I got a copy of Chris Dolley’s new book that he’s giving out for “average reader” reviews. I’m emailing him as I finish each chunk (eight chapters for the first bunch) and I pointed out that I didn’t realize it was set in the U.S. until I got to the third chapter and there was some backstory on the lead character. My problem was that the book is full of “Britishisms”. (He’s a UK ExPat living in France.)

    Anyway, he emailed back that:

    1.) For the UK publication, they wouldn’t worry about it,

    2.) for the US publication, an American editor would fix them.


    3.) One character “assumes” a Brit persona periodically and those Britishisms will stand in both editions.

    Wow! He’s right, but what a confusing issue to have to deal with.

  2. Ilya

    Hmm, I’m occasionally still startled by a mix of Americanisms and Britishisms. I don’t know if a book like that wouldn’t be confusing to navigate for me.

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