Ranger Kathryn's Arches

August 10, 2010

When makers of signs need grammar lessons

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 6:56 am

TWO punctuation errors!It hurts. It just hurts. Wouldn’t sign makers be required to get their punctuation checked?!?

Who among you out there can find the two mistakes in this sign in the deep backcountry? (Click on photo to enlarge it.) Answer in the Comments section without reading others’ comments, and we’ll see how you do.


  1. Well, for one, it is a mistake to leave some strange woman leaning against the sign. What are hikers going to think about that? Are they supposed to feed her? Give her drink? Maybe tell her she can go home now? Besides that obvious one, another mistake seems to be that someone has forgotten a period. And an apostrophe to show some possession wouldn’t hurt. Did I come close, for an ex-teacher of science?

    Comment by Allen Gislason — August 10, 2010 @ 7:25 am | Reply

    • YES, by George, you’ve GOT IT! (I never thought about the strange woman; thank you for bringing that to my attention.) This was not a difficult grammar quiz, so it is a relief to me that you passed with flying colors. Beware: there may be more.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — August 10, 2010 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

  2. I’ve got it! I’ve got it!! I’ve got it!!!
    There is no apostrophe in ‘Canyonlands’ and no apostrophe in ‘Arches’ and they’re both – ah – um – er – possessive case – like they are the ‘owners’ of the National Parks that follow their names . . .
    Right, teach?
    p.s. It is a well-known fact that you are a secret member of the dreaded Apostrophe Police, you know . . .

    Comment by leroque — August 11, 2010 @ 8:08 am | Reply

  3. Wait a minute . . . ‘hikers’ needs one of those apostrophe thingys, and Canyonlands and Needles don’t.
    Yeah – and a period is missing down lower . . .
    And, you are out of uniform!

    Comment by leroque — August 11, 2010 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

    • Dad — I don’t wear my uniform on my days off. (Nor do I sleep in it.) And now you HAVE got the grammar just right.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — August 11, 2010 @ 3:01 pm | Reply

  4. Hikers needs an apostrophe after the s. (I always think of you when I see an apostrophe left out or abused.) There should be a period after use.
    Now can I look at the other comments?
    Our national treasures deserve decent punctuation! And spelling!

    Comment by chrisyoungman — August 17, 2010 @ 10:23 am | Reply

  5. No, no. What this sign needs is another ‘s’ added on to the word ‘needles’ and an apostrophe AFTER the s in ‘hikers’, making clear that this gate is for the extra, unwanted, northern-hailing travelers.
    Also, I’d insert two /’s like so: ‘overnight/use/obtain’. That way, it really makes the reader know that the two lines of sub-subtext are each an individual sentence. It’s nice that they let the public stay overnight in the visitor center. Well, as long as they use a backcountry permit which they also obtained at the visitor center.

    Wait, what do you mean I’ve got it all wrong?

    Comment by Marta — September 5, 2010 @ 10:51 pm | Reply

    • Marta. You are such a crack-up!!!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — September 5, 2010 @ 11:06 pm | Reply

  6. I fail to understand this obsession with apostrophes – note plural, not possessive.

    Both “Canyonlands” and “hikers” are obviously plural words. “Hikers” refers to the possibility that there might be multiple hikers at the gate. “Canyonlands” might need an apostrophe but it is official name for Canyonlands National Park.

    See the quote from the enabling legislation on the Canyonlands National Park website (http://www.nps.gov/cany/parkmgmt/index.htm) … if anyone should be blamed it should be our esteemed legislators in Congress. It is so hard to get good, or literate, help these days 🙂

    There should be a period between the tow sentences … unless the alternate reading is actually correct. Perhaps, they are advertizing that they bring backcountry into the Visitor Center each night with front-end loaders. Unfortunately the Needles does not have the large open space like either Island in the Sky or Arches Visitor Centers and the hiking opportunities in the Visitor Center are very limited … but it does eliminate the problem of rain overnight 🙂

    The best choice would be separate lines. One for each idea.

    Comment by Dick — October 27, 2011 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  7. Forgot to mention the strange lady leaning against the sigh.

    Ye gads, who goes hiking in the backcountry in a skirt !!!

    Almost as bad as a skirt or dress in the fiery Furnace 😦

    Comment by Dick — October 27, 2011 @ 12:13 pm | Reply

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