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 Russia...you 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!
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:
LONDON? YOU'RE WELCOME TO IT!
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:
TRY AND ENJOY OUR BURGERS!Correct grammar? Yes. Correct vocabulary? Yes.
Desired effect? Err...no. But it did give us a laugh.
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”