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.)
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.