Fascinating! Why is ‘No Smoking’ in quotation marks? There are all sorts of reasons for using quotation marks (apart from the obvious one of quoting) but none of them seem to fit B&Q’s sign. For example … when you can’t find the mot juste; when it’s alien to the speaker; expressing hostility; an apology for slang; sarcasm etc. I suppose it could represent distancing of the corporation from government policy, but that seems a bit subtle for such a bright orange organisation. Think I’ll write to HQ and find out.
Anyway, this is a good cue to introduce an appeal for pictures of signs from around the globe. I’m writing a paper on Urban Ideologies and I’d like to look at the way commands and instructions are conveyed by different organisations. The three themes are (1) Smoking (2) Dogs (3) Parking. If you can help, send a snapshot to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!