English Reading SkillsVocabulary in English

Can You Understand These 22 British English Signs?

Can You Understand These 22 British English Signs

Where are you from?

What does your country specialise in?

Some countries are really good at spicy foods.

Some countries are excellent at public services, like hospitals and stuff.

Maybe your country has the best waterfalls or the strangest buildings or the most polite people.

But what about Britain?

Well, I’m proud to tell you that no other country in the world has as many signs as Britain!

We’re number one for signs.

As an example, here’s a picture of a train I was in recently:

British English signs on a train

There are signs everywhere in England.

Here are some interesting statistics that I may, or may not, have just invented:

  1. Britain is 30% forest, but 77% sign.
  2. There are about 4.6 billion signs per person in the UK.
  3. The names “Sign,” “Warning” and “Don’t” are now the most popular names for babies in the UK.

So if you’re planning a trip to the UK, you need to understand what the signs mean.

What’s more, the type of English that’s used on signs is a bit different from the type of English we use when we’re speaking or reading the news or writing an essay.

Signs have their own special language.

I’ve seen a lot of signs in the past week. Here are some of the more challenging ones.

Do you know what they mean?

Can You Understand These 22 British English Signs?

No food waste please | Domestic waste only
Shop to let
Disabled Access | Keep Clear
Donation plea! We need books!
This area is under CCTV surveillance
Traditional Sunday roast every Sunday, served from 12:00 until 4:00 p.m.
Please do not allow your dog to foul this area
End of route | Cyclists dismount
Recycled carrier bags | Please help yourself
Vehicle turning area | Do not obstruct
Add a touch of Scandinavia to your life
Please mind the step
Refuse for disposal
No unauthorised access
Ramp
No rough sleeping, drinking, drug taking or loitering
Have you paid and displayed?
Public convenience
Dog waste
Stock grazing | Please close the gate
Private fishing | Poachers will be prosecuted
Love is metaphysical gravity
Can You Understand These 22 British English Signs?
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What about your country?

Do you have any crazy signs in your own country?

Please tell me about them in the comments and we can all have a good laugh together.

2 thoughts on “Can You Understand These 22 British English Signs?

  1. Love this bit. Comedy gold:
    “Britain is 30% forest, but 77% sign.
    There are about 4.6 billion signs per person in the UK.
    The names “Sign,” “Warning” and “Don’t” are now the most popular names for babies in the UK.”
    You’ve clearly never been to France though. Not only are there a ton of signs (the average lamp post has at least 12 of them on it), they’re often written in acronyms/initialisms, so no-one actually knows where they lead. Remind me to send you a picture.

    1. Thanks Cara.
      And really? Could there possibly be somewhere in the world with more signage than the UK? Back to that old sense of competition between the Brits and the French! And yes — do send a pic!

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