Thursday, August 14, 2014

How to fumble a simple hazard warning about NYC beaches

Another Installment of

Language Acting Badly

Those of us who've signed up to receive text alerts from the impressive NYC system Notify NYC, know we open ourselves up to a wide range of warnings, notices, and concerning information that can intrude at any time day or night. (Let's not go there)
Some days a "Silver Alert" about a missing elderly man with dementia.  Other times it's a "Heat Advisory" warning me to stay hydrated.

Today it was a text about the condition of NY Beaches 2 days after the NY area were deluged with over a foot of rain that sluiced tons of runoff into the beaches.

The text from Notify NYC read: 

"The advisories have been lifted"!  

How high?
Lifted off of what?
Is it like "lifting your voice" - making it higher and louder? (OED primary definitions applied)

"lifted" here is a word used for legal purposes, not the right word for public consumption.
BTW, notice the passive verb that further complicates this simple message.

A Rewrite
The NYC Dept. of Health reports that all NYC public beaches are now safe for swimming.  There are NO beach advisories. ...

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