Road Sign Mistake Reminds Us Why Accuracy Matters

We spend most of our time at Mind Your Language pointing out common spelling and grammar mistakes. Sometimes it's worth reminding people of the consequences of a lax attitude to careful writing. This is one of those times.

Picture: BBC/Zoe Blackman

The pictured road sign was displayed in the centre of Oxford in the UK. Note that "September" is not one of those words which has a spelling that differs from its pronunciation. This is just a stupid error, and one which suggests very little checking at any level of the sign production process.

It also has consequences: Oxfordshire County Council has made it clear it won't be paying the company that produced the sign for this particular effort. Accuracy matters — and inaccuracy can cost you money.

'Septermeber' misspelled road sign put up in Oxford [BBC News]

Lifehacker's Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


    i forgot exactly where that other mistake was, but please tell me that this is on the same road as the Bup Stop

    Except that everyone that reads it gets the intent and no one died because of it. From the thumbnail I didn't even pick up the error and clicked to find out what it was.

    We spend most of our time at Mind Your Language pointing out common spelling and grammar mistakesWell you do anyway...
    This sign is obviously the exception to the rule, when it comes to signage, and really not worth an article about it..!

      The interesting thing about this sign is that it has no meaning...imagine the law suits if it was the US?
      But what amuses me more about dates is people who carefully mispronounce Feb-u-ary, when even a dried out dingo knows its Feb-roo-ary. Not quite educated TV presenters are the worst, to my endless amusement.

    Something captured in a digital photo contains a spelling mistake - exciting stuff. Not really sure what the point of this article is?

    I find it amusing that Life Hacker has a whole section on pointing out other peoples language errors, when certain nameless sister-sites are plagued with grammatical/lack of proof reading/rapid-fire articles.

    It doesn't matter anyway no one reads them. I work on the roads and the amount of times I'm asked "is the road closed?" while standing next to a massive road closed sign and barriers is astounding.

    To those questioning why this is noteworthy, I think Angus' point is that typos like this aren't the result of some dumb kid pressing the wrong key while typing a text message.

    Between being entered at the keyboard and being placed on the road, that sign would have been seen by at least half a dozen people - professionals being paid to create signs - and not one of them noticed, or bothered to mention, a glaring error in letters almost a foot high. They really should review their QA processes.

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