I saw the sentence "Do not bring dangerous goods on board" on the window of a train in China.

Is this sentence grammatical English? If the word 'goods' in this sentence were replaced with 'items' or 'objects' or some other word, would it sound better to a native speaker? Or is there a more idiomatic way of saying the same thing that is used on trains in English-speaking countries?

  • Did you really see such a notice? In English? Sep 1 at 13:50
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    Goods can mean both 'personal possessions' and 'things to be transported', so there is nothing inaccurate about it. Sep 1 at 15:30
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    Why don't you like it? It would help if you could express a specific issue.
    – Stuart F
    Sep 1 at 16:03
  • @MichaelHarvey Yes. I saw the notice in English with my own eyes when I was travelling on one of the trains in China.
    – Jax
    Sep 2 at 14:22
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    @Lambie Except Chinglish usually refers to badly written English with gramatical mistakes and the misuse of words. Something like "Please not to bring perilous ownings upon the train" In the OP's case I see nothing wrong with the notice. Sep 20 at 13:29

1 Answer 1


The phrase you cite is perfectly good English, and "goods" is a traditional word to describe anything non-human carried by train. It would not look out of place on a train in Britain or North America.

If there is any criticism, it would only be that it is possibly a little old fashioned (but only a little). A modern sign writer might say "do not bring dangerous items onto the train", or "do not board the train with dangerous objects".

  • Yes, to me "goods" suggests luggage or commercial goods, and it's not clear for instance if it would prohibit bringing a savage dog on the train, or wearing a spiked punk necklace, for example. Although not sure if a dog is an item or object either. This is why you would typically have a list of things that are banned.
    – Stuart F
    Sep 21 at 10:58

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