We Can English
Sweden’s Biggest Fails Using English in Ads
Sweden, land of elks, modular furniture and upper-lip tobacco, has a strange quirk — its love for using English in its advertising, written with no helpfrom native speakers. This freshly-arrived Irish immigrant’s natural reaction was to collect as many examples of this terrible yet hilarious English ad copy as possible. Presented here, with the question:
CAN YOU ENGLISH?
Paddy Kelly, born in Ireland, escaped to Sweden to avoid being a farmer. A longtime writer, published in places ranging from The Irish Times, and The Local Sweden to Analog Science Fiction, he now works with coding and innovation. Among his hobbies are belly dance, board gaming, and, perhaps ironically, farming.
Anyway, Paddy studied physics and astrophysics with the aim of being an astronomer (nod to Carl Sagan) and realised at some point that astronomy consisted of staring at screens all day, which wasn’t exactly what he’d been hoping for. So instead he hung around Dublin’s alternative bars with long hair, playing in a band and writing heartfelt poetry. Hey, it was the 90s, everyone did it.
Paddy has been writing ever since he saw The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and figured he could write a story just as good. And he did, although it was basically just The Empire Strikes back with the names changed. But the bug bit him, and he continued to write, chalking up successes in places as diverse as Ireland’s Own, The Irish Times, Molotov Cocktail, The Local Sweden and Analog Science Fiction. No Nobel prize yet, although his rejection list is long and impressive.
Paddy moved to Sweden in the late 90s and remains there to this day, recently becoming a grandfather. He works in coding and innovation, loves dance and board games and solar panels, and spends most of his time, both at work and in private, staring at screens all day.
“Paddy Can English”
Our Man In Stockholm Podcast
“På spaning efter roliga reklammissar”
Mitt i Söderort nr 19 2022