"Safe Drive Save Life" is the name of a program initiated by the Government of West Bengal, a state in East India. You could look it up here and here.

Safe drive save life

Every time I go to the capital of West Bengal, Kolkata, I can't help but notice this expression on bumper stickers and billboards. What bothers me is that it does not sound right.

Is the expression "Safe Drive Save Life" correct? Is it missing any punctuation? Why does it sound so incorrect? Or is it just me?

  • 2
    Slogans don't need to meet grammar standards, they need to be punchy and memorable. – KillingTime Apr 12 at 5:27
  • A longer version of it might be a safe drive will save life. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Apr 12 at 6:23
  • Or Drive safely - save lives. – Kate Bunting Apr 12 at 7:58
  • 2
    I'm not a fan, but that that's not really relevant. It means that it's understandable. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Apr 12 at 12:51
  • 1
    "Drive Safe" (using a flat adverb) would be more natural but loses the visual symmetry. "Save a Life" or "Save Lives" would be more grammatical but loses the near rhyme. – user323578 Apr 12 at 13:19

In the advertising industry

(including the so-called social advertising)

they sometimes invent slogans which are grammatically incorrect because the slogan is a specific text ("a brief attention-getting phrase used in advertising or promotion"). (Sometimes the grammatical incorrectness can be explained by poor English.)

The slogan in question is a typical example of "headlinese or journalese style".

There are some common characteristics:

  1. Using the infinitive instead of the finite form (save instead of saves).

  2. Pseudo rhyming (driVE - liFE).

  3. Alliteration (SAve - SAfe).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.