Funny signs in Fremont, WA: "Dump No Material Whatever"


Sam Scheibner says: "This sign appears three or four times in Fremont WA along the canal. I'm no English major but shouldn't it be Dump No Material Whatsoever? Or did the sign writer give up half way through?"

I hope somebody adds funny punctuation to it, like "Dump No Material? Whatever."


  1. California or Washington? These signs are all over Seattle. I’ve always wondered what they meant…

  2. Well, it’s not its most common use, but in the OED:

    2a,b. b. adj. = ‘No matter what..’;‘Notwithstanding anything that’.

    2c. c. adv. Whatever may be the case, at all events. dial. (and colloq.).

  3. Judging by the quoted comment “Fremont WA” and by the Space Needle sticker visible in the upper-right of the picture, I’m going to have to say that the title of this post is incorrect.

    The strange signs are indeed in Fremont, Seattle, Washington.

  4. Pitch is, of course, correct in #5. It is more common in England, or at least it was about a century or so ago. It was very popular in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.

  5. It’s not as common a usage these days, but it is perfectly fine. There’s really nothing wrong with the english.

  6. Seems like it was posted by the department of redundancy department. Why say stick “Whatever” on the end at all?
    “Dump no material” – doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue either – I’d vote for “No Dumping”.

    But then we’d have one less thing to talk about on a Friday afternoon…

  7. That’s a perfectly acceptable if somewhat outmoded use of the word “whatever.” I use it that way conversationally sometimes. I agree, though, that funny punctuation is in order.

  8. @ Kaiser Leib:

    It is not an outmoded use of the word at all. It is the same as using it this way:

    “Whatever chemicals you dump, be sure to dump them well.”

    “Whatsoever” is an intensive form of “whatever.” Personally, as a stickler for proper usage, I would say that “whatever” is actually more correct, albeit less frequently used, particularly in the States.

    But whatever.

  9. Official English major here –
    This sign is fine. It’s not how I would phrase it, but still fine.

  10. In psychology there’s a thing called the “Dead Man’s Rule.” It says if you want to have people actually obey your commands, avoid giving them instructions that a dead person can obey.

    “Do Not Dump” or “No Dumping” would be in violation of this rule.

    There are two reasons for this:
    1) The brain processes the negation after decoding the message. So by saying “Don’t Dump” you’re actually saying “Dump, oh wait, don’t do that.” You’re actually making the impulse to dump slightly stronger by using common wording.

    2)It’s always better to tell people to do something else instead of the behavior you want to avoid. So in this case they are telling people to dump nothing. It’s like the little stickers at the gym in lockers saying “leave no valuables here.”

    It’s basic behavioral psychology. I thought you guys liked science?

  11. #23, that doesn’t make sense. But a STOP sign might get the point across more effectively.

  12. @24: I wackyparsed the domain address in that URL as “Fremont Tarts Council”, which would be pretty progressive, actually, I think, if it really existed.

  13. I was at the Chinese restaurant last night. My girlfriend pointed out that ducklings are small ducks. I immediately canceled my order for dumplings.

  14. Bogus peevologism. The OED lists whatever as an alternative for whatsoever and any native speaker would understand it without blinking. I agree with the previous poster who said “I would say that “whatever” is actually more correct… But whatever.”

  15. I read ‘whatever’ as a noun, like, dump no MATERIAL whatever. As opposed to imaginary whatever.

    Don’t dump whatever. Especially if it’s material whatever.

  16. #22, Anonymous:

    Thanks for that, most interesting. I found this page which gives a bit more information on the concept (describing it as the ‘dead man test’), and suggests that a better instruction would involve ‘action’ and ‘movement’.

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