Danny Arao’s 12 rules for (funny) sign-making

Yes, funny signs is back with a vengeance!

A former student of mine, Bianca Consunji, emailed a few months ago 38 pictures of funny signs. Some of them have been used in previous posts, and there are a few that have been circulated in e-groups.

For this installment, allow me to present what I would call the 12 cardinal rules for sign-making (read: “funny sign-unmaking”).

Our first sign makes me re-read and deconstruct the message several times. Is there something profound about the latent content and the intended message?


Rule 1: If you want a person to enter, make sure he or she knows where to go.

Ever heard of “conditional” entrance?


Rule 2: It’s okay to impose conditions, but be careful with your syntax. What happens, for example, to a hopelessly obedient but seriously “wet” person who needs to go to the bathroom?

This is another conditional entrance, where you should leave your worries (and your slippers) behind!


Rule 3: Be prepared for excuses that erring customers might use (e.g., “Sorry, my slippers can’t understand your English!”)

Once you’ve made your melodramatic (and problematic) entrance, you should know the “followed-to-be” rules!


Rule 4: Don’t let the Secretary of Justice make a sign for you!

Despite your headache over the horrendous grammar (especially of some government officials), you should always be on your toes and not fall for catchy slogans (and I’m not just referring to government claims of progress!).


Rule 5: Be wary of what the people should watch out for! Is it the potentially falling, or the already fallen?

There are also signs that are very, very hard to “digest.”


Rule 6: When it comes to bad grammar, don’t expect people to just “grin and bear it.” Or, in this particular case, “bite the bullet.”

Care to buy a pair of pants with jagged edges?


Rule 7: If you’re selling, know your spelling! A pair of pants, incidentally, can be “jagged” if they’re unevenly cut.

But enough of the seriousness. Let’s go back to “recklessness.” Can you buy a shirt that matches your “taste?”


Rule 8: Use the adjective “sweet” mainly for things that are edible (sweet lover is obviously an exception, do you agree?). Otherwise your customers will become sour and bitter!

Aside from that, they might feel miserable. But if it’s any consolation…


Rule 9: Unless you’re a government official, don’t convince people that misery is an acceptable reality.

Yes, don’t be in a state of denial. Keep away from people who ask you to smile despite the abject poverty our country is facing. Fight for your space! Avoid swerving! In other words…


Rule 10: The correct spelling of a word is not necessarily its pronunciation.

Indeed, these signs are very much unwanted. The one below, however, is a bit peculiar because the “wanted” is the one that’s unwanted. Huh?


Rule 11: In writing signs (funny or otherwise), be sure to use the present or future tense. What’s the point, after all, of living in the past? (If you “want” somebody, go for it!)

What’s the best way to end this installment of funny signs? An ungrammatical one, of course (and in Filipino at that!).


Rule 12: Even if you know your grammar, try not to let the people get away with what’s prohibited.

I promise to provide more funny signs in the next few days. At this time, we have Bianca to thank for this installment. All the best (and worst funny signs)! (RisingSun)


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