In our bathroom there is a bottle of shower gel (see picture), and whenever I see it I wonder if there is something wrong with me or with the text.


The text says:

Maybe I won[']t tell you she said shyly some things are not for sharing.

What is meant here? In my eyes there are two possibilities:

  1. "Maybe I won't tell you she said shyly [that] some things are not for sharing." In this case, the word that can be omitted, so the text is grammatically correct, but does it make sense in this context?
  2. "Maybe I won't tell you she said shyly some things [that] are not for sharing." That would make more sense, but my grammatical feeling tells me that the word that can not be omitted in this case.

I am not a native speaker, so I might be totally mislead by my grammatical feeling, so please comment...

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    It's hard to say for sure with the minimal punctuation – but I think the marketing people have done that by design. I get the impression the quote is supposed to be a little vague, hard to follow, and rather mysterious.
    – J.R.
    Mar 21, 2017 at 17:12
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    I have a bottle of treaclemoon's Tea Tree shampoo in my shower, with similar drivel (imho). Probably, as J.R. says, there's no real intention to be either precise or grammatical - it's just some "stream of consciousness" words that vaguely suggest to their target audience (my daughter, not me) that using their products will imbue you with seductive mystery. If you insist on "parsing" the text, I suggest you assume an implied period or dash between shyly and some, rather than the word that. Mar 21, 2017 at 17:24

2 Answers 2


If I rewrite this slightly to add proper punctuation, then it would sound like;

..."Maybe I won't tell you," she said shyly. "Some things are not for sharing"

To put this in context, earlier she seemed to be describing a thought she was having and was about to explain it, but decided not to.

"My moment of sweet calm... Just to think with carefree abandon about... Maybe I won't tell you," she said shyly. "Some things are not for sharing"

In the first part of this, she is starting to describe her thoughts, (or maybe just how she generally thinks). Just to think with carefree abandon about... Then her thoughts trail off, and she says; "Maybe I won't tell you, some things are not for sharing"

The hidden subject in this, is where there marketing strategy comes in play, the subject of her thoughts are about, 'that vanilla moment' which is describing how the product make you feel.

If you read the script as a story it is much easier to understand.

  • This is how I would read it. Now, it is arguably “opinion–based” if you take in account the fact that you don't cite the steganometics of similar sentences with punctuation either explicit or transcribed from spoken pauses and non-verbal cues. But, hey, if native English speakers disagreed, they'd be downvoting this. Mar 23, 2017 at 4:37

This sentence structure seems cluttered. The phrase and clauses run on one another without sufficient punctuation. Also, there is a smidgen of poor grammatical construction.

However, is it? Let's look at the whole sentence again.

My moment of sweet calm ... just to think with carefree abandon ... maybe I won't tell you she said shyly some things are not for sharing.

But a closer look reveals this is the work of creative writing. Whoever wrote this for the company did a good marketing job. Here is what the writer is trying to pass across to consumers (you in this case).

With the ellipses, the writer is trying to draw your attention, to tantalise you. And he consummated this by teasing you. Let me try and paraphrase what he meant with the last part of the sentence.

Maybe I shouldn't tell you about someone who already used this product, and would rather no one else use this product.

You see, it's a marketing strategy!

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    I think your missing the point of the sentence though. Because the subject of the sentence is 'that vanilla moment'. So if we put it in context her trailing thoughts are about her 'vanilla moment' so when she says; "some things are not for sharing", she is talking about her 'moment' Mar 21, 2017 at 17:44
  • Thanks @Sam. I agree with your point, and I wanted to go in that direction before. But I find it hard to believe a company can hire someone to write such a poor sentence. I could only think of a deliberate intent on the part of the writer. Mar 21, 2017 at 17:51
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    I think it's more related to the fact that they didn't care whether or not they used proper punctuation, because most people wouldn't care about the punctuation. maybe it was purposeful, but maybe they just didn't care Mar 21, 2017 at 17:55
  • Well said. Maybe they didn't care. Mar 21, 2017 at 19:24

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