Beware of ‘fallen rocks’: A phrasing conundrum

How do you think a sign alongside a Texas highway should read?

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A recent example of this involves a road sign that I pass every day on my commute. The sign says “Fallen rocks,” and it’s on a section of highway surrounded by short cliffs. Over the years, rocks and boulders have fallen from the cliffs, and those rocks and boulders now sit on the side of the road. Occasionally, rocks will still fall from the cliffs, so the sign is there to warn motorists.

The issue I have—as well as the reason I’m writing this post—is that I question the wording on the sign.

Instead of saying “Fallen rocks,” shouldn’t it say “Falling rocks”?

Perhaps it’s ridiculous, as I said, but let me explain.

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Why do you need a sign to warn drivers about rocks that have already fallen? Doesn’t the threat come from the rocks that could fall?

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