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We're having a discussion at our office whether or not the phrase "Please leave the meeting room/kitchen/coffee corner in order" is correct.

What we're trying to convey is: please clean up dirty cups and dishes, empty the dishwasher, throw away any trash etc.

I have googled this extensively and found multiple occurences in university guidelines and other documents, so I'm assuming it is correct.

Is "please leave the meeting room in order" incorrect? Or might it be better to rephrase it to "please keep the meeting room clean" or "please keep the meeting room in order"?

Thank you!

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    Whatever you call it, it will not work unless you make it the responsibility of a single person to see that it is kept in order. That much is certain. – WS2 Feb 5 '16 at 10:00
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    "Please keep the meeting room neat." "Please leave the meeting room in order" sounds like people should file out in (alphabetical?) order. "Please keep the meeting room in order" could actually be interpreted to mean that the chairs should be in numeric sequence or some such. – Hot Licks Feb 5 '16 at 13:32
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"Please leave the room in order" is definitely correct, as is, "Please keep the room in order." Both "leave" and "keep" are verbs in this sense, but they would have slightly different connotations in this context.

Leave could mean, "allow to remain", as in, "Leave my coffee alone!", but in context, it will be obvious that you mean it in the sense of to "go away from"; the implication is, "When you leave, make sure the room is in order." (Yes, I know that you'll be making messes in the kitchen/coffee room, etc., but clean up before you go.)

Keep, on the other hand, would be used in the sense of, "continue or cause to continue in a specified condition, position, course, etc." (What you're saying is, "Look here, this is an office, there's no reason to be rearranging furniture to dance on break, KEEP THE ROOM IN ORDER!)

Note: definitions taken from Google Search's primary result for, "[whatever word] definition".

Edit: as Hotlicks points out in comment above, "in order" may not be the best choice of words to convey your intended meaning. Tidy, neat, clean, shipshape, or all of the above might serve you better; or you can just hire a janitor and forget about the sign.

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  • Hi, Kal. There is something wrong with your link. Please make sure you post a link without spaces. I tried to edit and get rid of the spaces, but still the link shows this.. – user140086 Feb 5 '16 at 10:34
  • @Ranthony, I noticed that, but I couldn't conceive how I could fix it. I just shortened the links and that worked, but I have no idea what difference it made. – Kai Maxfield Feb 5 '16 at 10:46
  • You need to replace space with %20. Also, your links stuttered, saying "https" twice. These work: google.com/… and google.com/…. – Scott Mar 7 '16 at 2:11
  • @Scott Thanks! I think that I have some idea of what happened now with the original links. Do these still need something to be changed? They are working fine on my pc. Also, are you talking about the space after the colon, immediately preceding the link? – Kai Maxfield Mar 7 '16 at 5:00
  • @Kai: The links you have in your answer now work for me.  I don't entirely understand what you're asking me.  There is no space after the colon.  There were spaces in "define respondee", "leave definition", and "keep definition". – Scott Mar 7 '16 at 6:28

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