lorry originalOn Facebook in July 2013 I posted a photo I’d taken of the back of a Carpet Right lorry because the grammar in the signwriting looked, to my way of thinking, incorrect.

My post created quite a response as it stirred the opinions of those who believed they knew better [than I] but the debate is far from settled.

To the right is the picture I posted together with the comments that subsequently flowed:

Post title:
So, who is to blame here… the Designer? The Copywriter? The Signwriter?
For such a big company this really is very poor.

Comments:

Julia Church
I sell, you sell, he sells, she sells, they sell, we sell .. aren’t Carpet Right a
‘they’ or a ‘we’?

Clive Wilson
They would be a ‘they’ or a ‘we’ only if referred to in that way. If Carpet Right were a  person called John, you wouldn’t say ‘John also sell beds’.

Carpet Right is being referred to here as a single entity (i.e. the company) so if we replaced ‘Carpet Right’ with ‘The Company’ then I’m sure you’d agree it should say ‘The Company also sells beds’, would you not?

I think that is game, set and match to me! ha ha!

Stuart Ritchie
Very clever, whoever wrote it. Pedantic social media users up and down the country are posting the picture and debating the grammar! Great publicity

Veronica Boswell Pullen
I’m not totally convinced that it doesn’t work as sell and sells

This company also sell beds sounds no worse than this company also sells beds

But I didn’t know they sells bed until now

Clive Wilson
Perhaps I should ask my friend’s daughter Georgia as she has recently left Uni with a degree in English. What’s your view Georgia? (I’m preparing myself to stand corrected).

Georgia Traher
What do you sell? I sell beds, you sell beds, he she it sells beds, we sell beds, They sell beds.

Your right it depends how we see

The company. in this instance id say its a (they)

I think its correct. on the lorry.

Stuart Ritchie
The irony of Clive’s “phone a friend” English expert saying “your right” instead of “you’re right”

Think we’ll forgive her – it was the middle of the night! Lol

Veronica Boswell Pullen
Also ‘it is’ = it’s, not its

Georgia Traher
I’m going to rest very heavily on my time signature from last night. . .

Glen O’Dwyer
I would say it is a singular entity. Therefore should be ‘sells’. If they had said ‘Carpet Right Stores also sell beds’ it would have been OK! However, the most important thing is – CLIVE – GET OUT MORE!

Julia Church
Have just returned to this and seen your response to my comment Clive. If you think Carpet Right is a single entity why did you say ‘If Carpet Right were…’ and ‘They would be…’ ? You referred to them in the plural twice in your response. It just feels right doesn’t it?!”

Clive Wilson
What a wonderfully lively debate with unexpected twists and turns this is turning out to be! Maybe Rod Murdison would like to add his expert view on the subject. Rod?

Jackie Barrie
These days, many people write as though a company or organisation (singular) is made up of people (plural). For example, ‘the Government says…’ or ‘the Government say…’

Penny Payne
You lot are just sad.

Clive Wilson
Sad? Really? Is it so wrong to question/debate correct grammar? Aside from checking you have the same colour socks on or that your teaspoons are all facing the same way in the drawer there are few things more important in life.

Andrew McKenzie-smart
Correct grammar & spelling is very important as it shows attention to detail operating in a Company.. A Company which misses the “s” in all of its sign writing on its vans is also probably the sort of Company that isn’t bothered in other areas i.e selling dirty or marked carpets, etc.

Julia Church
Not if an ‘s’ need not be there lol!! Ooh, I think it’s time to move on

Rod Murdison
Just back from holiday and pleased to get a mention ref grammar. There is considerable leniency in this in modern English e.g. “the shoal was moving north” (singular considered as one unit). “The shoal were darting in all directions” plural -considered as individuals. The main thing is to be consistent throughout.

Glen O’Dwyer
You know they say – how do you get ten grammer teachers to agree on sentence structure?
Shoot nine of them…

Rod Murdison
do you mean ‘grammar’? (chortle)

Julia Church
You should start your sentence with a capital ‘D’ Rod!

Julia Church
Shall we start a Pedants’ Support Group in Caterham? I am beginning to think we need therapy!

Glen O’Dwyer
Isn’t that a type of flag?

Rod Murdison
I was following on the dot, dot, dot (not really, you caught me, in fact I’m starting to wonder if this whole thing is an elaborate trap)

Glen O’Dwyer
I do like ellipsis…or do I mean ellipses?

Clive Wilson
It’s like the whole ‘have’ / ‘has’ argument. In my view when newsreaders say “British Airways have employed 200 people” it should be ‘has:, should it not? BA being a single entity here.

Rod Murdison
I like the way we all ‘paused for dramatic effect’ over Glen’s ellipsis comment.

Julia Church
I looked it up and learned (or is it learnt) something today. Thank you Glen.

Rod Murdison
Apparently ‘learnt’ like ‘earnt’ is a British English spelling

Clive Wilson
I think I may have to ask the opinion of my favourite Copywriter, Mary Kelly, now she’s back from hols, to add her two penneth to the sell/sells debate. Mary Clair…?

Mary Clair Kelly
Clearly Carpetright is a singular proper noun which means you are right Clive. I am delighted the communiy care(s!!!!) so deeply!! I rest my case.

Mary Clair Kelly
BTW good to see Julia Church knows what she’s talking about! Hooray for quality local press!

Julia Church
But I disagreed with Clive. You have homework to come back to Mary Clair xx

Mary Clair Kelly
I was very impressed because thought you were pulling him up on his other errors!

Clive Wilson
Hmm, I’m just wondering if Carpetright Plc has a view on this?

Toby Baillon
I think that CARPETRIGHT as the brand here is much too small in comparison with the word BEDS. Who sells the beds? They sell the beds. All clear now?

Amanda Pye
Clive Wilson … i regard myself as a little normal, below normal for gramma! mmm 41 comments! and i do believe that the average person would see this as carpetright sell beds aswell! lol xx

lorry simon

Simon Kelly
Clive – I think the problem is you keep asking copywriters to solve the problem and look where it’s got you.

What you actually need is a friendly designer proficient in Photoshop!

Ta Da… Sorted. Nuff said. [see his edit to the right]

Julia Church Maybe they should simply change the slogan to Carpetright also sell/s beds to keep everyone happy.