English Tip: know when to hire someone

Unless you are fluent in English it is absolutely a smart and essential idea to hire someone to proofread anything and everything you print in English. Mistakes in a conversation or writing a letter to a friend are fine. English speakers make mistakes all the time, no big deal. But when you are printing a brochure or using an English word in the name of your company it can lead to some pretty big mistakes. Take スウェットショップ for example. In Japanese it might be OK, but in English a “sweat shop” is a bad place where children are forced to work 18 hour days for a dollar a month making things for export (like crappy t-shirts and shoes for Nike).

The lesson: hire someone who knows all the meanings of what you are writing. 『Sweat Shop』は下手英語です。

English Tips

English Nuances: Toilet Versus Bathroom

In many places around the world there is a big difference between the toilet (also known as the water closet) and the bathroom. In some places a washroom (a room containing both a toilet and a bathtub or shower) are rare. All these names get kind of confusing. Especially when you are trying to learn English.

In the US we just don’t have any sense of toilet and bathroom being separate. I’ve never seen the two separated in the US and I lived there nearly my whole life. We often have bathrooms that do not have a bathtub or shower, but we still call it a bathroom. We just plain don’t have rooms that have only a bathtub or shower. If we are talking about rooms we’d describe a bathtub-less bathroom as a “half-bathroom.” For example we often say, “my house has two-and-a-half bathrooms,” which means there are two bathrooms with showers or bathtubs and one bathroom which only has a toilet. But I’ve never heard anyone say, “I cleaned the half-bathroom,” someone could, but it would sound a little weird. In casual conversation we would just call it a bathroom. If someone said I cleaned the toilet I’d think they were talking about the actual toilet, not the room, the thing you sit on.

Who knew I would be writing so much about the bathroom today! Speaking of which…. see you later!