The English Language Is Not Always Intuitive

A sign reading 'No Ped Xing'

As I crossed a street in suburban Philly recently, I noticed the above sign. While I immediately understood the sign’s meaning, I really wondered if non-native English speakers or those who cannot read English would be able to make any sense of the sign.

This sign strikes me as an example of a failure to communicate.


  1. Hi Seanán,

    Yep, sure can. It means No Pedestrian Crossing. ‘PED’ is a somewhat common abbreviation on US signage. The ‘XING’ has cropped up in recent years in the US in connection with signage noting where animals commonly cross the road. For example, ‘DEER XING’ or ‘COW XING’.

    And thanks for your comment – you’ve pretty much proved the point that this sign is not intuitive at all, regardless of one’s ability to speak and read English.

  2. It just occurred to me that the author and photographer of this post seems to have publicly admitted to breaking the law by ignoring the sign. Does the Philly govt offer rewards for turning in criminals?

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