what’s a “buck lunch”? (or, whats a buck lunch)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 1 minute.

I TOOK BERNI to her morning coffee at a nearby Star­bucks she wakes up five days a week with that place’s caf­feine and a book be­fore going to work. On the way back home, I drove past a local chain restau­rant. Their sign ad­ver­tised the following:


Now, if Eng­lish is your na­tive lan­guage, your brain reg­is­ters ex­actly what the sign-maker in­tended: that they are of­fering a lunch spe­cial for five dol­lars. But that is NOT what the words say!

Be­cause they in­cluded the symbol for dol­lars ($), what the sign ac­tu­ally says is that they are of­fering a “buck lunch” (what­ever that may be) for $5.

The misuse of the rules of grammar and punc­tu­a­tion is so common (I could say “ubiq­ui­tous” and be over­stating the case, or I could say “ram­pant” and get away with it) that most of us pay no at­ten­tion to it! Oddly, this is hap­pening at a time when books on grammar and punc­tu­a­tion may be at an all-time high in terms of ti­tles in print and ac­tual sales.

Per­haps the best known of the re­cent books is Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, a de­lightful read on the misuse of punc­tu­a­tion (pri­marily in her na­tive Eng­land). This book as­tounded the pub­lishing in­dustry by selling hun­dreds of thou­sands of copies in Great Britain in 2003, be­fore taking the Amer­ican book scene by storm the next year.

She ex­horts her readers to take no­tice of im­prop­erly punc­tu­ated signs in busi­ness es­tab­lish­ments and bring them to the at­ten­tion of the pro­pri­etors. (She calls her­self and others who no­tice gaffes and shudder at them “stick­lers”).

Now, I have no in­ten­tion of stop­ping or calling the man­age­ment of the restau­rant and cor­recting them. But I hope that I am not the only person who chuckles when he drives past and won­ders what’s in that “buck lunch” . . .

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The real trav­esty here is the fact that Mr. Bucky B. Buck­snartch never re­ceives any bucking credit for mat­ters such as this!

Anyone in need of a chuckle or three need only keenly ob­serve (usu­ally hand-written) signs/advertisements!

I true-lee, like this Ar­ti­cles. Keep up the modulations.