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Anguished English: A Sign In Russia

One of my favorite funny errors in English was found on a sign in a hotel in Russia. The sign read:

If this is your first time to Russia, then you are welcome to it!

Do you have any guesses not as to what the hotel wanted to say....but what they actually said (without Googling)? 


Here is the Answer!! 

to be welcome to something means that you can take it for free, if you want it. The person offering it to you doesn't want it anymore. It can also mean that someone can use something of yours, you don't mind.


You are welcome to take any of these pens. (= take them if you want them)

You are welcome to some cake, if you like. 

You are welcome to use the towels. 

You are welcome to these books. I've already read them. 

So, the sign isn't actually welcoming visitors, it really says: If this is your first time to can take it home with you for free. We don't want it anymore!

The correct greeting would have been: Welcome to Russia, especially if this is your first time in our country!

Thank you to everyone for your guesses and participation!

Feb 21, 2018 4:22 AM
Comments · 21

There used to be an advert - for business opportunities in the provinces, I think - that you could see from the train as you were leaving London:


This advert was, of course, was a deliberate joke based on the same idea. And a good one, too - I've never forgotten it.

Your unintentionally funny sign also reminds me of one I saw outside a fast food place in Spain, : a picture of a burger accompanied by these words:


Correct grammar? Yes.  Correct vocabulary? Yes.

Desired effect?  But it did give us a laugh.

February 21, 2018

 Aliph, I don’t know if your question was just rhetorical:) if not, I would say something like: 

1.  on behalf a country:

“Welcome to Russia and we do hope to see you again and again!” Or “ Thank you for choosing Russia for your travelling! It’s our pleasure to serve you from this time and many years ahead”. 

2. On behalf of a hotel: 

“Welcome to Russia and we do hope you’ll become our loyal guests for many years”

February 21, 2018
In the area of Canada where I live, "then you are welcome to it" can refer to discarding something by means of giving it away.  For example, you could say to a friend:  "Oh, I don't want that old car anymore, if you want it, "then you are welcome to it."  It interests me when I read sentences in English, like the ones posted in this discussion, and see how the parts of speech such as grammar and phrasing have a profound impact on interpretation of the meaning implied.  I find it fun, at times, to see how the placement, or omission, of parts of speech such as adjectives ,verbs, and so forth, can change meanings - often in comical ways!  "I already ate, Jim."  or "I already ate Jim."  There's a big difference in those two sentences.  
February 21, 2018
@ Terry...Psssssttttt!!! as a native speaker,  you aren't supposed to give the answer away!
February 21, 2018
Sudeep, indeed, there is a problem with what they wanted to say.
"If it is your second time, then ...."

then what?
Then don't forget to flush the toilet? Then could you tell, what the town it is, my GPS won't work?

February 21, 2018
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