Friday, October 27, 2006

Natural Disaster, Schmatural Disaster. I Have Grammar Questions!

Do y'all remember me talking about the major landslide here that blocked our access to Yosemite?

(Click picture if you crave more info. Photo by Ed Harp of the USGS.)

Well for the most part the damage has been dealt with, through creative use of temporary bridges over the river, and a beefing up of the (previously dirt) road on the other side.

(Again, click picture for info site...Photo by Caltrans)

So what happens now is; one drives up to a timed stoplight, waits for a bit and then makes a sharp 90 degree turn onto a narrow temporary bridge, crosses, makes another 90 degree turn, drives past the landslide on the opposite side of the river, does two more 90 degree turns over another temporary bridge, and then one is on one's way! Now all this is a marvel of modern civil engineering, by which I am duly impressed. However there is one thing with which I am at least perplexed, if not completely unimpressed. The signage.

First of all, about 15 miles before you even get to the landslide there is one of those big portable light up signs that flash changing messages. This one is programmed to say "Hwy 140 Open" and then "28 Feet Vehicle Length Limit." Now am I crazy, or would it be more grammatically correct to say "foot"? It sure sounds awkward to me.

Then the second bit of questionable syntax is encountered right at the metered stoplight. Here there is a sign that declares "Expect 15 Minutes Wait." Again, am I completely nuts, or wouldn't it be more correct to just say "minute", as in "Expect a 15 minute wait" but dropping the "a" for simplicity? If it remains plural, wouldn't it have to be possessive also?

I dunno. I am sure I am no grammar whiz. In fact, there are probably multiple linguistic errors right in this here blog entry. So what do you think, oh internets? Is it me, or is the Caltrans sign person smokin' too much weed?


Kellyann (aka Smelly) said...

Okay, now, yer making us think on a Friday night after killing a bottle of red!
re: the 15mins, my hub (with his MFA in Poetry)'s not necessarily grammatically correct, that it is an "inverted" sentence. His argument is that when you revert it to "expect to wait 15 minutes" it is correct. He likens it to folks saying "Monday next" v. "Next Monday". Of course, he is also a terrible speller and somewhat dsylexic. We cannot be bothered, either, with pulling ye olde grammer book off the shelf. So, did we prove anything? I doubt it.
The feet/foot thing, hmmmm. I'm with you, feet doesn't sound right.
The pothead guess probably isn't too far off.
btw, the English degree didn't pay off. He's now a marine engineer!

Robert said...

It looks like that bridge was just dropped froma height, and compleatly at random, as I cannot make out a road on either side. :)

cheesefairy said...

I have nothing to back this up except spidey-sense but I think you're completely right. (I have given some thought to figuring out *why* I think that, but usually with grammar I go with what sounds right. I can never remember any "rules.")

Happy halloween! Looking forward to pics of your magnificent costumes...