Monthly Archives: August 2019

Names for Bathrooms and Toilets, Courtesy of Roto-Rooter


Sir Thomas Crapper himself. He did not invent the flush toilet, but he did make significant changes to it and held many plumbing patents.

Here are a slew of English or English-adopted euphemisms for the bathrooms and toilets. (We use bathrooms far more often for activities other than bathing. And how often do you rest in a restroom? Just asking.)

1. Big White Phone

2. Bog

3. Can

4. Chamber Pot

5. Chunder Box

6. Cloakroom

7. Comfort Room

8. Comfort Station

9. Commode

10. Convenience

11. Cloakroom

12.  Crapper

13. The Dunny

14. El Baño

15. Facilities

16. Garderobe

17. Gardyloo

18. God of Poo

19. Head

20. Hopper

21. House of Ease

22. Jakes

23. Jax

24. Jericho

25. Jerry

26. John

27. Johnny House

     28 El Baño

     28. Latrine

     29. Lav

    30. Pan

    31. Porcelain Throne

    32. Porcelain God

    33.  Pot

    34. Potty

    35. Powder room

    36. Place of


    37. Privy

    38. Reading Room

    39. Restroom

   40. Lavatory

   41. Lavvy

    42. Little Boys’ Room

    43. Little Girls’ Room

    44. Loo

    45. Long Drop

   46. Necessarium

   47. Necessary

   48. Outhouse

   49. Oval  Office

   50. Seat

   51. Small house

    52. Seat

    53. Small house

    54. Stool

    55. Thunder Mug

   56. Thunder Box

   57. Toilette

   58. The Bogs

   59. The Gents

   60. The Ladies

   61. The Office

   62. The Smallest Room

   63. Throne

   64. Throne Room

   65. The Vin

   66. W.C.

   67. Wash room

   68. Water Closet

I’m certain you can add to this list. Continue reading

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Runner-up for the Most Common Error I See

Right on the heels of its vs. it’s are whose vs. who’s. Let me explain:

Who’s is the contraction for who is or who has. Who’s going to the toga party this Saturday night? (Who is going?) Who’s taken my copy of Julius Caesar? (Who has taken it?)

Whose is a possessive pronoun; it shows ownership.  Whose car is parked in the 20-minute spot? (Who does that car belong to?)

As I wrote about it’s vs. its, possessive pronouns do not use apostrophes to show ownership. Only nouns do: Caesar‘s attending the toga party Saturday night.

Got it? Good!

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The Most Common Error I See (and Hear)

You’d be surprised how often I’m asked what’s the most common writing error I see. It has always been, and perhaps always will be its vs it’s.

Without the apostrophe, its is a possessive: Robert’s dog barked its head off at everything she saw. But, you counter, Robert gets an apostrophe to indicate the dog is his. You’re right. Robert is a noun. But pronouns never take an apostrophe when they indicate possession: ours, yours, theirs—and its is a pronoun that can stand for just about any thing. Anything. The mouse scuttled back to its hole. The helicopter found its landing pad. The river overflowed its banks. 

It’s is a contraction: it’s an abbreviation for it is or it has. If you can’t substitute either of those constructions, you need the its without the apostrophe, the possessive form. (See the previous paragraph.)

It’s been extremely hot throughout most of the country recently. (It has)

It’s going to be very crowded at the airport tomorrow. (It is)

If you start using its and it’s correctly, I’ll have to change my answer to the most common error I see to who’s vs. whose. Next post.


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Forget the last post; this is the real deal

Two days ago I wrote a post about Mary Norris, The New Yorker‘s “Comma Queen” and her review of three new grammar books with very different approaches. Unfortunately, the link was incorrect. The link below should take you to her brief article. I think you’ll enjoy it. She’s quite witty.


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Very Interesting Reviews of Three Grammar Books



The reviews were written by Mary Norris, not the three books. She is the famous “Comma Queen” copy editor at The New Yorker. I think you’ll enjoy her takes on the three very different approaches to grammar and punctuation. Let me know which camp you fall into:






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Mark Twain on the German Language

Mark Twain traveled extensively, in the United States, in Europe, and in the Middle East. He was quite critical of the way the German language is constructed. In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, he wrote the following:

She had exactly the German way; whatever was in her mind to be delivered, whether a mere remark, or a sermon, or a cyclopedia, or the history of a war, she would get it into a single sentence or die. Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of the Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.

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Do You Peruse My Posts?


 Chances are you don’t. If you don’t spend much time reading them and just skim or scan or quickly give them the once-over, you haven’t perused them. Peruse means to read carefully and comprehensively. Granted, the posts I write are rarely worthy of perusal; I write them so they can be skimmed quickly.

Now you know that perusing a document requires much more of your time. If you’re studying for a class or writing an important letter, you’ll need to peruse supporting documents so you can be fully informed.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions. If you comment, I will respond.

Thank you for skimming.


Filed under All things having to do with the English language