Steve’s Hall of Shame:* Condense an agent?

“Condense or approach a customer service representative”: I saw this sign in the Wilmington, Delaware, railroad station, and I was baffled. Should condense have been contact? Maybe. Some writers readily accept nonsensical suggestions from a word processor’s spelling checker. Later, I wondered whether it meant “condense your baggage,” as in consolidate your luggage—maybe stuff it into one suitcase and stand on the lid to get it shut. The verb condense has two forms: transitive and intransitive. You can condense something (a book, for example) by making it smaller, or something can condense by becoming smaller, which happens when water vapor condenses into liquid water on a cold glass.

Don’t let this happen to you: Make sure that text makes sense the first time someone reads it.


* “Steve’s Hall of Shame” is what one writer called my collection of bloopers. I decided to keep the name.

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One thought on “Steve’s Hall of Shame:* Condense an agent?

  1. venice967

    Interesting! When I first read that statement on the Amtrak sign, that’s exactly what I thought of; condensing luggage down to acceptable weight for carry-on. Perhaps the person who wrote this little ditty filled in the rest of the proper phrasing but forgot to write it down! I have often skipped words in my writing(thinking I’ve written them down but only thought them). So the thing is to have someone else double check b/f committing it to something as permanent as a sign.

    Like

    Reply

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