Here’s a photo gallery of directional signs that should give visitors pause.
Enclosing one or more words in quotation marks when you’re not quoting another person is widely believed to represent emphasis. But among careful writers, this technique represents skepticism or distancing oneself from the term, as if to say, “I didn’t come up with this idea; I’m just reporting it.”
Therefore, the use here of scare quotes around not creates cognitive dissonance. The photographic subject looks like an entrance to me. But’s it’s “not.”
Is the author of this message conflicted about the truth of the statement? And is the “front” door not really a front door?
Solution: Underline handwritten words for emphasis and your existential crisis will dissipate.
By the same token, how does one open a door “slowly”?
Does one merely pretend to exercise caution? Does one ignite a slapstick routine by feigning a measured widening of the aperture in the doorway and then suddenly flinging the door open? When the president of the company is the victim of such a prank, is only the perpetrator culpable, or is the sign maker fired, too?
Solution: For job security, use italics.
Metropolitan State University certainly has its protocols down to an exact science, designating a special room where VIPs can get mugged. It might have been better, however, to set aside separate rooms for staff orientation and the reception so the muggers have enough space to work and nobody else gets hurt.
Yes, that door is very close. You are certainly correct about that. Thanks for pointing it out. Is there another close door I can use?
That’s something you don’t see every day. Does the Hoover Dam charge admission to view the restrooms from the exhibits?
Private room? You know, it’s no problem, really. I think I’ll just wait until I get home.
Ladie, when you’re done taking a picture of the sign, would you mind stepping aside so I can get to the me’ns room?
The typographical error of upon for open is forgivable, but the second sentence is problematic not just in construction (suggested revision: “IT staff needs access until keys are obtained”) but in what’s between the lines: “Until we do get the keys, which, thanks to this company’s byzantine requisition procedure should happen sometime in the next decade, help yourself to any of the expensive, vital electronic equipment located herein.”
As I said earlier, I can wait. No, really, I’m good. I can smell the stairway from here.
Irate customer: “Open if your game enough”? It’s you’re! You’re!! You’re!!!
Sales associate at the counter, talking into the telephone: “Security to the front desk, please. Hurry!”
A version of this article originally appeared on DailyWritingTips.com.