Numbered Days

Earlier this year, the clothing retailer Gap issued a limited collection of T-shirts designed by contemporary artists. The contribution of one Rirkrit Tiravanija (pictured in the middle) contains only the bleak, boldly printed sentiment: "The Days of This Society Is Numbered."

The sentence should be: "The Days of This Society Are Numbered." Days is the grammatical subject of the sentence. Since it's plural, it should take the verb are.

Was this error intentional? One message-board commenter insisted the shirt is meant as a joke, huffily adding, "We have reached a stage where irony no longer is possible. We have become that illiterate. The shirt is a last gasp of literacy."

The Awkward Adverb doesn't agree with this nonsense. Although we believe sloppy language degrades communication and hence society, not many others seem to share this conviction. As Tiravanija is Thai, the error is most likely an understandable mistake by a non-native speaker and not an ironic critique of culture. For society's days that remain, Gap should employ a T-shirt proofreader.