Pew in Church


In our American church sign series, we mentioned that U.S. churches often use their outdoor signs to announce scheduled events, share upcoming sermon topics, or give advice.  Happily for passersby, church employees often post clever messages and give us something to think about––or laugh at.  This week, our What's So Funny? segment continues the series.  Do you get what's so funny?


The rows of benches for sitting in church are called pews.

photo credit:

photo credit:

What's So Funny?    

The above church sign asks us if we have terrible (stinky) lives.  The church's response is an invitation to come to church and sit in the pews (and improve our lives).  The sign is funny because the informal expression, "Phew!" means something smells very bad.  When changing a child's messy diaper or when passing a dead skunk on the road, an American might say, "Phew, that stinks!"  (Another way to say "phew" is "P.U."  I have no idea what those two letters stand for.)

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.