"Britishisms" · British "stuff" · Fitting In · Life On The Road · Lost In Translation · Road Signs · UK

Legalese In The Loo

“Separated by a common language” — how often have we heard that screech used to describe the divide between good ol’ Jolly Olde, versus the Colony across the pond.  You know the proverbial usuals —

“MIND THE GAP” instead of “watch your step”;

“TO LET” instead of “For Rent”;

… “TOILET” instead of “rest rooms”


and the list goes on.   I’ve seen a road sign that said —

“BEWARE : These Roads May Tend To Flood During Rain”,


and pointed out to C how “CAUTION – ROADS MAY FLOOD” would’ve made a much smaller signboard.


The uber-nice hotel we stayed in Canterbury brags of “Easy and Quick!” (note exclamation point) access to the Internet. But where’s all that quick-and-easiness that when the textually-challenged guide/instructions tell you this?   —

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Yeah! — “24 hours from 12 to 12 unlimited usage”. (or 11 to 11, 10 to 10…. so on :)). Ok, let’s go through the instructions. Step 1, check. Step 2, check. Now, Step 3 — serious stall. “Select ARGUMENT”? — Hmmm, I had to consult the hubby on that one. Might we even draw swords at some point if the argument gets too heated? [Note: To be fair, the hubby confirmed that he, too, was “a bit confused” by the use of the word “argument” here, and that the usage is somewhat questionable.]


And then just last week, at the women’s restrooms at the lobby of the hotel in Falkirk, Scotland, that we stayed in, THIS sign —

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“Whilst” is still happily used in everyday conversation. “Licensed Premises”? — ok. “Within sight of an accompanying adult at all times” — yes. Just dig it. This is all “PLEASE KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR KIDS” in legalese. or in English. :)
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4 thoughts on “Legalese In The Loo

  1. I just stumbled upon your blog – it’s great! It sounds like we have some things in common, too! I’ll be moving from the Chicago-ish area in December to the UK – for love! (and I agree that the circumlocution of the Brits can be astounding…)

    1. Dear “Miss America”:
      Thanks for dropping a line. It’s good to soon be able to compare notes with yet another person with something in common — how we cope, whether breezily or with some struggle. Keep in touch!

  2. I really like that last one. It seems like the author took real time and trouble to say all that needed to be said, and make it sound official.

    If you like British signs, you should follow the blog of Long Aye-lander in Glasgow, who does a great job collecting them.

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