You know I’m hooked on words. I was daydreaming this morning, thinking about the various sounds a double O makes:
Good (the schwa sound)
Cooperate (this is a diphthong: the first O says OH and the second O says AH)
Don’t you wonder how we ever learned to read?
The Celsus Library in Ephesus, Turkey
My title refers to your sense of vision, your sight. It also could be a reference to understanding, insight.
I just came across a reference to a scholarly article in which the author “sites” examples in a novel. Site means location: Ephesus is a major archeological site in Turkey.
And then there is cite, which is what the author of the scholarly article meant to write; to cite is to mention particular items or people that bolster an argument. The author of Howard’s End, E.M. Forster, cites many examples of the rapidly changing mores in early 20th century England.
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
4. Chamber Pot
5. Chunder Box
7. Comfort Room
8. Comfort Station
13. The Dunny
14. El Baño
18. God of Poo
21. House of Ease
27. Johnny House
| 28 El Baño
31. Porcelain Throne
32. Porcelain God
35. Powder room
36. Place of
38. Reading Room
42. Little Boys’ Room
43. Little Girls’ Room
45. Long Drop
49. Oval Office
51. Small house
| 52. Seat
53. Small house
55. Thunder Mug
56. Thunder Box
58. The Bogs
59. The Gents
60. The Ladies
61. The Office
62. The Smallest Room
64. Throne Room
65. The Vin
67. Wash room
68. Water Closet
I’m certain you can add to this list. Continue reading
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!
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: