A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Don't take it literally!

Post 1

Brian of Bourne

It pays not to take things literally sometimes.

Denis Norden tells of how he spent a sleepless night after deciding not to take a sleeping pill. The instructions on the bottle said, 'Take one tablet. IF you wake up, take another.

Apparently the instructions on lipstick used to read - 'Remove top and screw up bottom.'


Don't take it literally!

Post 2

Gnomon - time to move on

Many years ago, jam jars had lids which did not screw off. You had to break the vacuum seal by puncturing the lid, then the lid came off easily. The instructions were:

Pierce with pin, then push off.

I always think that instructions which don't mention the thing they are describing make very good advice on life in general.

Consider the following:

Keep cool.
Do not eat.
Wash separately.
Do not use hooks.
Keep away from naked flames.

and my favourite:

To avoid danger of suffocation, keep away from children.

Don't take it literally!

Post 3

Niz (soon to be gone)

On microwave meals it sometimes says, full power 4mins. Remove film lid stir and recover. Personally I get terribly worn out stirring those microwave currys. I recommend a good sit down.

Don't take it literally!

Post 4


On my sleeping tablets, there is a notice which says "Caution, may cause drowsiness".

When my children were little they were given medecine which said on the bottle "If drowsy, do not drive or operate machinery".

On a barbecue there was a sign that said "Caution, may become hot when lit"

Don't take it literally!

Post 5

Brian of Bourne

Chortle, chortle.

Don't take it literally!

Post 6


This one isn't open to misinterpretation, quite the opposite. I have just cleaned my computer screen with a sachet wet-wipe bearing the legend:

"Remove wipe from sachet. apply wipe to screen in horizontal and vertical movements"


Don't take it literally!

Post 7

Niz (soon to be gone)

2 years agos ago I bought a Larva lamp and on the box was written "Do not turn upside down". Nothing wrong with that I hear you say, well it was written on the underside of the base of the box!!smiley - bigeyes

Don't take it literally!

Post 8

Dr E Vibenstein (You know it is, it really is.)

There's a road sign near where I live which reads:
"Children - drive carefully"
Personally I don't think children should be driving at all, however careful they are.

Don't take it literally!

Post 9


Unfortunately it has now changed, but the Yellow Pages used to have an entry which I used to wave at my dad on a regular basis. It read;
"Engineers - see also: Boring..."

Don't take it literally!

Post 10

I'm not really here

I like the signs on electricity sub station things.
Beware of Death.

Just strikes me as really funny.

Maybe that's just me.

Don't take it literally!

Post 11

Xanatic(phenomena phreak)

Wow, these things are really worth an entry on most stupid warning labels don´t you think?

The Danish signs with "Beware of children" could also be misunderstood smiley - smiley

Don't take it literally!

Post 12

Metal Chicken

There was a collection of these sorts of things put together a while ago. Find it at http://www.h2g2.com/A159374

Don't take it literally!

Post 13

C Hawke

Maybe it's time for ICARUS II The return of the stupid....maybe we could include all those UK protestors who were incapable of basic mathematics.


Don't take it literally!

Post 14

Dinsdale Piranha

On cereal packets it used to say 'To open, slide finger under flap and move from left to right'.

Don't take it literally!

Post 15

Xanatic(phenomena phreak)

In Denmark there are some weird signs on elevators. An elevator meant for cargo will have the sign "GODS ELEVATOR" printed on it. And when elevators start to move, the words "I FART"(in speed) will appear on a screen smiley - smiley

Don't take it literally!

Post 16

Gandalf ( Got my own Comp Now!! Still Redundant!! )

I remember cerial packs with the instruction "Tear around dotted line"

How fast?????????

smiley - smiley


Don't take it literally!

Post 17

Brian of Bourne

'..bring a lit - tle happ - i - ness..tra-la-la'.

This one is not really a 'don't take it literally' example, but I thought it might amuse.

I had just changing a string on my daughters violin and looked at the packaging that it came in before throwing it away. On the back it had something about how wonderful the string was, reproduced in four languages. The string was Italian, what follows is the English version. It GAINS something in the tranlation I feel. I have been very careful to copy it exactly, letter for letter, comma for comma.

'Thanks to this type of metal strings, it has been possible to achieve both the switness of sound and the softness, to feel that, one can recall the bowel strings of the past, but this type far better than the latter owing to the promptness in emmission and the ready and stable tuning.'

I'm glad my daughter plays the violin. The 'bowel emmissions' of a double bass string might be a bit much!

Don't take it literally!

Post 18



I received a birthday card from my father-in-law in China it said (in English):

"I wish you small surprises. A small sticky kiss unexpected. Parcel the train on time"

I would be very grateful if anyone can tell me what on earth that means...

Don't take it literally!

Post 19

Knifee, Thingite in charge of stuff you shouldn´t run with. Back from being away

I had a packet of penuts that said in big letters "Caution this product may contain traces of nuts" What only taces?? I paid money for these! smiley - smiley

I saw a box for a chinise made knife that stated "Sharp object, Keep out of Children" Good advice I think smiley - smiley

And not taking things literally... I think this one I heard on T.V. "Toilets out of order, please use floor bellow"

Don't take it literally!

Post 20

Lear (the Unready)

In the instruction manual for my Hinari 'Lifestyle' iron, in small print at the back, it says :- "Not for internal use."

I'm completely baffled. What do the Japanese *do* with their ironing equipment?

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