placard or sign

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vichy

Senior Member
mongolian
Dear all,
I have a question again.Let's say, in the street there is paper which has a photo of a cat and reads "If you find this cat, could you please call this number". So, this paper is called placard or sign for finding a cat. Thanks a lot in advance!
 
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I would in fact call it a poster (or perhaps a notice). A placard is usually held by someone, and a sign usually indicates a place or gives general information. These usages may vary in different regions: e.g. in the US.
     

    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    I would probably call it a flyer, but you could call it a sign. I think of a placard as being bigger and made of cardboard or some other more sturdy material (but I'm not sure if everyone would agree).

    Edit : In fact, Matching Mole's suggestion of poster is perhaps even better.
     
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    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I think I'd say "poster". "Flyer" is also a possibility - but I think I'd use that to describe the same piece of paper, but not actually stuck up anywhere - perhaps in a pile at a local shop for people to take. I might also say "notice". I agree that "placard" suggests something sturdy - to my mind perhaps even sturdier than cardboard. I wouldn't use "sign" - I think of those as giving official information, such as directions or the name of a permanent place of business.
     

    khongnho

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese
    To me, that piece of paper itself I would call a "placard", and once it is posted on (the wall), I would call it a sign.

    In a warehouse where I work people tape a piece of letter size paper onto a pallet to identify it, and they all call this piece of paper a "placard" whether it is already taped on a pallet or not.
     

    grubble

    Senior Member
    British English
    ...
    In a warehouse where I work people tape a piece of letter size paper onto a pallet to identify it, and they all call this piece of paper a "placard" whether it is already taped on a pallet or not.
    I agree with what you say. To English ears the word "placard" makes us think that it must be made of card when, in fact, it can be made of almost any material and derives from the French word placquard meaning official document. Nevertheless I personally would use sign or notice
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    In a warehouse where I work people tape a piece of letter size paper onto a pallet to identify it, and they all call this piece of paper a "placard" whether it is already taped on a pallet or not.
    In what part of the world is the warehouse you work in, khongnho?
     
    I've never heard "placard" used this way in the US, but it's a big country.

    For the missing-cat notice posted on a wall, I would probably say "sign." People do say "flyer" in this situation as well, although I agree with timpeac that it sounds more like something left loose to be picked up by passersby or perhaps even handed out.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If I was handing out flyers or leaving them around to be picked up, and I nailed one to a fence somewhere, it would still be a flyer ... to me. Someone who didn't know I'd been handing out flyers would probably call it a notice.
    A poster is bigger - poster size :)
    It wouldn't be a placard unless I had nailed it to a big stick and was marching up and down holding it over my head. For that, it would have to be quite big and stiff enough to hold its shape.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Obviously, "placard" has picked up various meanings.

    In the U.S., "placard" is frequently used in connection with warnings attached to vehicles, buildings, shipping containers, etc. See, for example, HAZMAT Placards. (HAZardous MATerials)

    See also the Wikipedia entry for "placard."
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Around here, such things--which are not uncommon on lampposts and neighborhood bulletin boards--are usually referred to as notices or flyers.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Where I work we differentiate between flyers being something handed out (or in a pile to take) and posters being stuck up. I don't know if this is idiosyncratic to where I work or not - but there it would be taken as read that if someone asked for a poster to be produced then detail would be needed for one side only, whereas both sides of a flyer need to have something on them. We'd also define sizes as appropriate (not change the word as a function of size) so you could have an A5 flyer or an A5 poster, or indeed an A4 flyer or an A5 poster (although a flyer as large as A4 would certainly be unusual).
     

    Carmen16

    Senior Member
    SPANISH
    Where I work we differentiate between flyers being something handed out (or in a pile to take) and posters being stuck up. I don't know if this is idiosyncratic to where I work or not - but there it would be taken as read that if someone asked for a poster to be produced then detail would be needed for one side only, whereas both sides of a flyer need to have something on them. We'd also define sizes as appropriate (not change the word as a function of size) so you could have an A5 flyer or an A5 poster, or indeed an A4 flyer or an A5 poster (although a flyer as large as A4 would certainly be unusual).
    Hi there, although a bit late, I would like to pose a question regarding this subject:

    If instead of a paper stuck to a tree or somewhere else saying that a cat/dog/whatever is missing, I would arrive at the airport, where previously I had arranged some stranger to pick me up, this man would be holding a piece of paper/cardboard with my name on it to be easily identified at my arrival... what would this piece of paper/cardboard be called then: notice, sign or placard... or something else?

    It is quite confusing... I thought a placard was something big and made of metal...

    Help please, and thanks in advance!
    XX
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Re post 14:

    Hi Carmen

    In your context, I'd use "sign" rather than "notice" or "placard".

    (In practice, I might simply say "card":).)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Where I work we differentiate between flyers being something handed out (or in a pile to take) and posters being stuck up. I don't know if this is idiosyncratic to where I work or not - but there it would be taken as read that if someone asked for a poster to be produced then detail would be needed for one side only, whereas both sides of a flyer need to have something on them. We'd also define sizes as appropriate (not change the word as a function of size) so you could have an A5 flyer or an A5 poster, or indeed an A4 flyer or an A5 poster (although a flyer as large as A4 would certainly be unusual).
    For those (probably most Americans) who have no idea what these paper sizes are, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_216
     

    Carmen16

    Senior Member
    SPANISH
    Hi, thanks for your prompt answers Loob and sdgraham,

    The size of paper can vary; most of them are big enough to be seen/spotted from a distance of a few meters, and be clearly read - depending on the type of ink used or on the good handwriting of the author and of the size of the letters - from two or three meters away. However, some people use just a A4 size piece of paper. I think these pictures will illustrate better what I mean:

    waiting at the airport 1.jpgwaiting at the airport 2.jpg

    P.S.: (for Loob) an English friend of mine says he would call them placards, but to me placards are larger.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    P.S.: (for Loob) an English friend of mine says he would call them placards, but to me placards are larger.
    Well, for me, a placard is something larger and a bit more 'official' than the name-cards held up by taxi-drivers at airports.

    But if your English friend says he would call the taxi-driver signs "placards", who am I to disagree?:)
     

    Carmen16

    Senior Member
    SPANISH
    For what it's worth, I agree with you Loob.
    ... and I do agree with both now, and with my English friend as well, since I asked him to forget about placard and choose between notice or sign, and this is what he answered:

    'It is a matter of semantics. A sign directs like a signal and is "passive". A notice is dictatorial as in "giving notice" and is "active". A placard just informs. As I said there is no "right" answer and all three are used in this context however if I had to choose between "sign" and "notice" it would be "sign" as it could be interpreted as signifying "I am your driver".'

    So there you are... English can sometimes be rather confusing.

    Thanks for participating! :)
     
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