The Homeland Bad English Administration

It seems the Homeland Security Administration has outsourced its signage operations to China. At least that’s the impression I got yesterday while driving along the Oregon coast with some friends. One of us wanted to stop for coffee, so we pulled into an espresso booth next to a gas station. Across from the booth, I noticed the following abomination:

bad English

I’ll go ahead and transcribe the wording here, in case you thought your eyes were deceiving you or the glare makes it hard to see:

Land Mgt. & Fire Skills to end loss via terrorist spawned coordinated wildfire Attacks & extreme fire storms, that suppression agencies evacuateĀ  from.

When it comes to butchery of the English language, have the terrorists already won? Have there actually been any “terrorist spawned coordinated wildfires?” If terrorists wished to start such fires, would we realistically be able to stop them? Is it necessary to have a grade-school diploma in order to write signs for Homeland Security?

How many grammatical errors can you find in the above sentence?

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I am a paleolibertarian Jew who is also a race-realist. My opinions are often out of the mainstream and often considered "odd" but are they incorrect? Feel free to set me right if you believe so!
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9 Responses to The Homeland Bad English Administration

  1. CanSpeccy says:

    You pose a real challenge. The use of the word via seems to suggest that loss is to be ended by means of “terrorist spawned coordinated wildfire Attacks, etc.,” but in that case they forgot to say what it is the loss of which is to be prevented.

    But perhaps they meant, not “loss via terrorist Attacks, etc.,” but that the loss to be prevented is that caused by or due to “terrorist spawned coordinated widlfire Attacks,” etc.

    But either way, why for Heaven’s sake, is “Attacks” capitalized. Nothing ambiguous there, just a mistake, surely.

    The that in “that suppression agencies evacuate from” is a defining pronoun (as opposed to the a parenthetical or non-restrictive pronoun, which) and, as such, should not be preceded by a comma.

    Then there’s the business about the fire storms from which suppression agencies evacuate. Fleetingly, the notion of evacuating agencies brings to mind … well never mind. But as a technical matter, can an agency or anyone else evacuate from an extreme firestorm? The problem here, seems to be another questionable choice of words rather than bad grammar. Presumably they mean “extreme firestorms with which suppression agencies not actually engulfed by the flames are, nevertheless, unable to contend in any way.

    My paperback edition of Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style” only cost a couple of bucks. Surely Homeland Security could afford a copy for every employee having any responsibility for written communications.

  2. Looks like pretty bad Engrish to me.

    http://www.engrish.com/

    The only defense I can come up with, is that someone got carried away and pretended they were sending a 19th century telegraph.

  3. Hindu Observer says:

    I think this was a joke or conspiracy or both. I mean ” terrorist spawned coordinated wildfire Attacks” …..???? Yeah right. Like American forest fires are “terrorist spawned.”

  4. Hindu Observer says:

    I went to their site. Its kind of bizarre. They are not associated with the US government.

    http://www.homelandterrorism.com/index.html

  5. Hizzle says:

    My favorite misprint: “No chewing cum.” You don’t have to tell me twice.

  6. I have a first stone problem when it comes to grammatical errors, but damn! That is some bad English.

  7. It was written by recent beneficiaries of the ‘amnesty’ bill. Expect more of this in your future

  8. Robert Marchenoir says:

    How many grammatical errors can you find in the above sentence ?

    None, because beyond a certain point of linguistic chaos, there’s no grammar to be found anymore. Mistakes have to stand out against a background of mostly correct sentences. We’re way beyond that.

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