many stops do not follow

We were driving up the mountain where, at the very top, sits the hospital where my son works. (Who puts a hospital complex at the top of a mountain? I’m certain it wasn’t any driver of any emergency vehicles ever.) Anyway, creeping along ahead of us was a van with these words across the back doors:

MANY STOPS DO NOT FOLLOW

In some ways we do live in an absurdist world, and the local motto is “Keep Portland Weird” so I thought at first that this van might just be a cleaner variation on the many, many cars festooned with many, many stickers proclaiming this or that belief, allegiance, avocation, or politic stance.

I came to understand, during our slow climb to the summit, that the van ahead of us was some kind of delivery vehicle and that it made many stops. Therefore, it would be wise for a car behind it not to follow too closely.

But if that’s the case, I think the words should read,

MANY STOPS, DO NOT FOLLOW

or,

MANY STOPS. DO NOT FOLLOW

I’m a big advocate of bending and breaking the rules of grammar, at least as long as you’re getting your point across (unless not getting your point across is your point). But warning messages on the backs of moving vehicles is probably the place where adherence to the “rules” makes sense.

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One Comment on “many stops do not follow”


  1. Part of what confuses me (besides the grammar) is why one would be directly following the vehicle or if one shouldn’t follow if one is on the highway. I think of these things on long drives.


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