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ESL Worksheets

Whoops! Thatís not what I meant!

English Language Errors around the World

Have fun reading the following signs, all of which contain amusing language errors. With a partner:

  1. Work out why the sign is funny. (Why does it make you laugh? What was the writer really trying to say? What does it sound like they are saying?)
  2. Write a sign that expresses the writerís idea more accurately, and of course without any embarrassing errors. (For example, the first sign could read: It is strictly forbidden for unmarried couples to share a tent.)


1) A sign in Germany's Black Forest:

2) Cocktail lounge, Norway:

3) Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand:

4) Hotel, Yugoslavia:

5) At a Budapest zoo:

6) Doctors office, Rome:

7) Hotel, Acapulco:

8) Information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner, Japan:

9) Sign in men's toilet in Japan:

10) On the grounds of a private school:

11) In a restaurant:

12) A sign seen on an automatic restroom hand dryer:

13) In a maternity ward:

14) In a cemetery:

15) Tokyo hotel's rules and regulations:

16) On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:

17) In a Tokyo bar:

18) In a Bangkok temple:

19) Hotel room notice, Chiang Mai, Thailand:

20) Hotel brochure, Italy:

21) Hotel lobby, Bucharest:

22) Hotel elevator, Paris:

23) Hotel, Japan:

24) In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:

25) Ski hotel, Austria:

26) Hotel, Vienna:

27) Hotel, Zurich:

28) An advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:

29) A laundry in Rome:

30) Tourist agency, Czechoslovakia:

31) Airline ticket office, Copenhagen:

32) On the door of a Moscow hotel room (during Communist rule):


Frankie Meehan