From the Hohlspiegel column of Der Spiegel, which is intended for funny errors from other sources:

Hinweis im Hoteldorf Grüner Baum in Bad Gastein: "Die Bademäntel sind diebstahlgesichert und explodieren bei unbefugtem Verlassen des Hauses."

I guess this is funny because the bathrobes cannot "leave the house" by themselves. If so, how should we correct it? Here's my attempt:

Die Bademäntel sind diebstahlgesichert und explodieren bei unbefugtem Wegnehmen vom Haus.

  • 2
    To me the humor lies in the somewhat improbable and over-the-top claim that bathrobes are theft-proof and would explode (!) if the wearer should leave the house unauthorized. Might work for the gullible, though ... – Ingmar Sep 30 '14 at 17:20

I guess the fun part is rather located in the "explodieren" – but also in combination with the "bei unbefugtem Verlassen des Hauses." So I would interpret the complete warning that the bathrobes will actually explode when they try to leave the house. Which is of course utter nonsense. But for me it is just a sign of the hotel owner's sheer desperation.

Actually the second part "bei unbefugtem Verlassen des Hauses" does not sound strange in itself – also when apparently referring to the bathrobe, it can also refer to a person leaving the house with a bathrobe as would be the case in English: "the bathrobe will explode when (you are) trying to leave the house (with it)."

  • 2
    It can not only refer to a person, it does refer to a person. The subject of the second part of the sentence is being left out, but from context you can guess who's meant. – Em1 Oct 1 '14 at 7:44
  • Well yes, I guess that's why that part of the warning is also 'funny' – because the subject of the first part is the Bademäntel as far as I can see. – tillinberlin Oct 1 '14 at 12:45
  • The sentence doesn't contain "with it" at all. That's why it's listed in a list of language errors. – Christian Oct 2 '14 at 13:02

The other answer didn't get the problem with the sentence.

The sentence is intended to communicate that message that the bathrobes explode when you leave the house with them and you don't have permission to leave with them.

The problem is that it doesn't. It doesn't say that the bathrobes explode when you wear them while leaving the house. It says that they explode when you leave the house without authorization regardless of wearing them. The idea that a person leaving the hotel without authorization causes the bathrobes in the house to detonate is silly.

Alternatively you could read it as being about the bathrobes being the subject of the word "Verlassen" but that doesn't work either. You don't authoritize bathrobes to leave. You can authorize people to leave with bathrobes. Dropping "unbefugtem" makes the sentence work.

At least that's the error that the editors of the Spiegel saw in the sentence. You can argue that it's possible to still understand what's meant, but that doesn't make the sentence correct.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.