Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tube English 1

I suffer from an unusual medical condition. I listen to the announcements on the underground, and I consider what they say, and what they are trying to say. Take this one, heard regularly when a train reaches its destination.

"This train terminates here. Please take all your personal belongings with you"

All of my belongings are personal. So are yours. Everything is a belonging of someone or something. So why emphasise the word personal? Are they saying that you should leave behind the belongings of someone else that you happen to have brought with you? Or should you ignore the property of your employer (a laptop computer, say) that you are taking home? Nope, I think they would prefer that all belongings are removed from the train.

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