Examples of poor marketing material.

From Daiso's advertisement on Lazada.com

Adhesive Fry Catcher

Adhesive Fly Catcher.

The packaging, incidentally, is correct.

From an insurance company's printed advertisement.

To qualify for the policy "You have never planned or advised to consult a doctor for treatment or awaiting diagnostic reports, follow up treatment or consultation."

Correction: "You do not plan, or have been advised, to consult a doctor for treatment. You are not awaiting diagnostic reports, follow up treatment or further consultation."

From a poster outside a shop in London:

"Satanise your hands here"

Correction: "Sanitise your hands here."

From the subtitles for a TV series

"Look, the handwritings are completely different"

Correction: "Look: the handwriting is completely different."

From an e-mail by a UK Government department - Her Majesty's Courts Service:

" * Weve introduced ....."

"* Weve published details....."

"* Magistrates courts are now ...."

"This will allow on-the-day check-in, self-serving access to case material...."


Apostrophes needed so as to read "We've..." and "Magistrates' Courts" (and there's a missing capital in the original, too).

"self-service" - self-serving means something entirely different and completely inappropriate.

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From a media statement by the UK's Companies House, described as "an Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.":

"News story: Companies House urges all companies to sign up for email reminders 06-11-2020 02:09 PM GMT
Companies should sign up to our email reminder service for annual accounts and confirmation statement - were no longer sending paper reminders by post"


"were" is completely the wrong word. It should be a contraction of two words: "we are" which appears as "we're". Or don't use the contraction.

"1. Only food and drinks purchased from the cinema is allowed into the auditorium.
3. "Any appliance or device that is capable of recording or capturing images of any kind is prohibited in the auditorium."
4. The management reserves the right to refuse admission by refunding ticket price purchased.
5. Ticket sold are not refundable"

Cinema ticket.

Where to start? How about clause 1?

1. Food and drinks - plural - therefore it should be "are allowed" Or it should be "food and drink" in which case "is" would be correct even though it seems illogical.

3. The clause is correct. But why does it have quotation marks around it? They shouldn't be there.

4. It is the ticket that is purchased, not the ticket price. So this clause should read: "... by refunding the price of the ticket purchased."

5. Should be "tickets" because it says "are." Alternatively, it could say "This ticket is not refundable."
But there's another problem - clause 4 says it is refundable. It is not for us to advise on policy so in this case we would put that back to the client for the client to decide exactly what he wants to say.

Television sports commentary: "He's been testing how late he could brake at that corner; he broke later than..."

"Broke" is not the past tense of "to brake." It's "braked."

"Broke" is the past tense of "to break," e.g. "he broke the cup."

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"Few victims have committed suicide and several others became victim of economic extortion and mental trauma "

In this context, the word "few" must be prefaced by the indefinite article "a".

It must read "A few victims have committed suicide and several others became victim of economic extortion and mental trauma."

The reason is that when "a" is inserted, it turns the word "few" into a synonym for "several." On its own, the word "few" means "an inconsequential number" which is exactly the opposite of what the government official who said it meant.

A television company has an educational channel. In an episode on English grammar it used variations on the following sentence:

"The teacher told the pupils to prepare for art class by bringing colour paper, pencils ...."

The lesson was about apostrophes and it got all of those correct, so we've left them out of the example. Can you see what is wrong?

It's the expression "colour paper." Does it mean "coloured" or "colouring". The two are completely different. The lack of the ending to the word has left the sentence vague. It's not the child's fault if they misinterpret what the teacher meant - the teacher should be clear.

And so should English lessons :)

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This is not strictly marketing material - it's from a newspaper report.

"The court then sentenced him to six years’ jail for each of the nine counts and fined RM15.4mil in default of 18 years in jail for all the charges."

It should read "fined him RM15.4m with 18 years' jail in default of payment.

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