What I was taught is it's supposed to be doors are closing or doors close. However CTA announcements clearly say doors closing. I'm pretty sure it's not door's closing because it also says doors open on the right. So it uses plural. Also quick search in Google reveals everyone thinks it's doors closing.

Is it really grammatically correct? If not why do they use it in such official environment?


  • The announcement isn't a sentence as such, it's a description of the state of affairs, for information only. In that situation, brevity and clarity are important. Have you come across the phrase "Man Overboard"? Think of it as a widely-recognised label for a certain situation. – JHCL Oct 25 '15 at 16:10

This is one of those situations where extra words are elided. This happens on signs and in headlines, where space is at a premium. And it happens here during a warning, which is intended to brief and emphatic. You only need to know two things: what it is (doors) and what it's doing (closing). You certainly don't want to get stuck in the doors contemplating a missing verb.

  • Right. It's short for "The doors are closing." – Brian Hitchcock Oct 25 '15 at 5:50
  • On the other hand, the automated BART announcement says "The doors are closing. Please stand clear of the doors." (And then the doors close.) So it's not as though every mass transit system concurs with CTA about the need to be as laconic as possible. – Sven Yargs Oct 25 '15 at 7:06

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