Low fat, but lots of nouns

beauty Chinese

X Beauty Chinese steam  low fat variety   small portions colorful   vegetables

Tim says:

“Beauty” and “Chinese” are both nouns, so this combination is strange. The intended meaning is that it’s Chinese food that will help you stay beautiful, but you need more than two words to say that, I think.

Also, after that, we have a random group of words and phrases — all nouns, except for the adjective “colorful”. It seems like the writer of this sign wasn’t able to make English sentences about these things, so they simply wrote the words! I’ll try to write my own sentences.

O Chinese food that helps you stay beautiful! A variety of low-fat foods in small portions, cooked with steam, including colorful vegetables!


A confusing tour of the parts of speech

bus food active relax

X Bus + Food Active Relax

Tim says:

I often see this on English signs in Japan. The list of items in the middle of the advertisement is made up of a noun, an adjective, and a verb. It would make a much better list if they were all the same part of speech (品詞), especially if they were all nouns. For example:

O Bus + Food Activity Relaxation


The mind reels

the heart excited

X When the eye tastes, the mouth feels and the heart excited.

Tim says:

Something is inconsistent about this list.

“The eye tastes”… A noun, and a verb.

“The mouth feels”… Again, a noun, and a verb.

“The heart excites”… A noun, and … an adjective!

We need to add a verb, such as “get” or “become”:

O When the eye tastes, the mouth feels and the heart gets excited.


Unhappy Joy

Joy Study

X Joy Study

Tim says:

Ah, yes. One of the most frustrating things for me, as a native-speaking English teacher, to see: English study materials with a brand name that is strange English!

“Study” is a noun, and should be modified by an adjective. But “joy” is a noun! The adjective form is “joyful”.

O Joyful Study


These shoes are dryer than those

Shoes Dryer (photo by Tim Young)

X Shoes Dryer

Tim says:

Of course, this machine is used to dry two shoes at a time, not only one shoe. However, when a noun is used to modify another noun, as it is here, the first noun is used in its singular form. The same is true of a “shoe store” (not “shoes store”).

O Shoe Dryer


Hurry up! Mix those chocolates!

Assort (photo by Tim Young)

X Assort

Tim says:

Why is this package commanding me to put together an assortment of chocolates?!

Well, that wasn’t the intention, of course. They only meant to describe what’s inside the package, but accidentally used a verb form, rather than a noun.

What they meant to write was:

O Assortment

Ayumi says:

assortment of chocolates
assorted chocolates

田中亜由美は「TOEICテスト クロストレーニング PART 1・2」などの本は販売中!ブログはこちら.



Shoes refresh

X Shoes refresh


O Shoe repair



x Hair Menu



X Refresh for hair & body


O Refreshment for hair & body

Bicycles parking. ご注意ください。

X No Bicycles Parking



O No Bicycle Parking

他の例は、「shoe shop」「drug store」など。