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Most countries have now replaced pictorial signposts with written signs, because the number of people who can't read is rapidly diminishing.

According to the answer this means that written signs were replaced by pictorial signposts, i.e. written signs were removed. Shouldn't the structure of this sentence be tre opposite? I mean shouldn't it be the signes that were replaced with(by) signposts (considering the wanred meaning)?

to replace A with B = to replace A by B = to put B instea of A -- isn't this right?

Thank you
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Hi,

The word 'signpost' is not good here, 'sign' is better.

to replace A with B = to replace A by B = to put B instea of A -- isn't this right? Yes

According to the answer this means that written signs were replaced by pictorial signposts The answer is wrong.

I'm not sure I agree with what is being said here. On highways, the trend is the opposite, to replace writing by pictorial symbols. And in various other places, too. Consider washroom doors.

Best wishes, Clive
Actually, Clive, I think 'signpost' has a narrower reference than 'sign'. 'Signpost' is more normally associated with 'directional signs', which the statement seems to have in mind.

I'm curious, Maverick, about the source of the wrong 'answer'.
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Hi,

I read the original sentence as a rather general statement. Perhaps it refers to directional signs, but I don't see that in the sentence as written.

I use and hear the word 'sign' all the time, for traffic and for many other situations, but much less often 'signpost'. Google gives many, many more hits for 'sign', although of course the word also has many more meanings.

To me, a signpost refers to a sign on a post, or more narrowly the post that you put a sign on. I see the word as becoming rather redundant, in an age when many of the important signs, particularly directions for traffic, are 'overhead' and don't even have a post.

The original sentence spoke of both 'signpost' and 'sign'. I suggest that the use of only one or the other would provide better balance to the sentence.

Best wishes, Clive
Clive,

I have pretty much the same reservations as you on the term 'signpost'. Probably 'directional signage' might have been a better choice. Though there is not a lot of context in the quoted sentence, the idea that most countries are making the change because of increased literacy, seems a pretty strong suggestion of what category of signage is involved. I wouldn't think highway billboards, for instance, would be affected by the change, or other examples of advertisement.
In the UK, literacy seems to be decreasing to the point where even a picture won't do. People expect a video demonstration of every damn thing!
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I share the sentiments of both Clive and Eimai Anglos on the status of public literacy. Where do you think the sentence in question originated?
Signposts: There are plenty of them around, (signs on posts). They are certainly not going to be made redundant in rural areas otherwise we would never know which way to turn!

Pictorial signs have nothing to do with literacy they were introduced for foreigners who cannot speak the native language. A picture of rock falling on a road as a warning sign is understood by anyone who can see it whether in Yosemite or Timbuktu. Or a picture of a car skidding, in London, Paris, or Rome. Likewise, flashing walking signs to accompany the WALK - DON'T WALK signs.

One meaning of the word sign is "to write" and one meaning of the word post is "to announce" (by putting up a notice) so a signpost is posting a sign. Sign and signpost are interchangable. A signpost can be a written sign or a picture giving you a sign.
Maverick88Most countries have now replaced pictorial signposts with written signs, because the number of people who can't read is rapidly diminishing.

According to the answer this means that written signs were replaced by pictorial signposts, i.e. written signs were removed. Shouldn't the structure of this sentence be tre opposite? I mean shouldn't it be the signes that were replaced with(by) signposts (considering the wanred meaning)?

to replace A with B = to replace A by B = to put B instea of A -- isn't this right?

Thank you

Hello, Maverick.

You say that replacing A with B is the same as replacing A by B, which in turn is the same as placing B where A used to be. This is correct.

So, let's have a look at your sentence about signposts again, and let's consider signposts to be "A" and written signs to be "B". In the sentence, B has come to replace A, so now most countries have written signs where they used to have pictorial signposts (the pictorial signposts have been removed because, these days, there are more people who can read). The sentence makes sense. I hope this post does, too.

Miriam

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