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Toilet Terms

In college, I joined a sorority. (I know I lose nerd points for this, but it’s necessary to explain the blog title.)

Shortly after becoming a member, I took on the nerdiest job you can have: Vice President of Academic Development. This basically meant I was in charge of making sure the other girls didn’t flunk out of college. I mean, really, what’s the point of saying you were in a sorority if you never actually obtained a degree?

As the VPAD I tracked GPAs, mandated study hours for those people who apparently weren’t doing it on their own, and helped fill out scholarship applications. I also tried to come up with new and interesting ways to make learning fun. Toilet Terms became my most popular invention. Each Monday before our chapter meeting, I would post a vocabulary word to the inside of each bathroom door in the house. My thought was that if you’re going to spend a decent amount of time in there, you might as well learn something.

So I chose words students should know, words students think they know but always get wrong, words that are commonly misspelled, and so on. I had no idea that this would become so popular. It got to the point where people were coming up to me on Mondays asking if I had posted the next word yet.

I ❤ Grammar Girl!

My nerdy side was not-so-secretly rejoicing. People were actually enjoying learning new things. I could only hope that after I was gone the excitement for learning wouldn’t dissipate.

When I graduated and got a “real” job, I discovered many business professionals – even CEOs – who could have used a few Toilet Terms in their life. Sending an email to the entire company with ‘their’ instead of  ‘there,’ really? I was shocked. Who decided we should stop having vocabulary lessons after we leave school?

In that same spirit, I think I’ll bring back Toilet Terms! Well, ok maybe I’ll let that title stay at the sorority house…but at the end of each blog, I will include a vocabulary word. Hopefully, you’ll learn a little something. We’ll start with one that has been used to describe me on several occasions.

Loquacious (adj.): 1. Full of excessive talk

For use in a sentence, I chose an example from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: “Viktor’s more of a physical being. I just mean he’s not particularly loquacious.”

Happy learning!

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10 comments on “Toilet Terms

  1. I actually knew that one! Good word choice 🙂

  2. “I mean, really, what’s the point of saying you were in a sorority if you never actually obtained a degree?” I once asked a high-schooler I was tutoring where she wanted to go to college. She listed a couple colleges. I asked what she wanted to study. She didn’t know, but she knew those colleges had good sports teams, and she knew their mascots.

    It was not a proud moment for me as a tutor. :/

    But yeah, written documents in the business world are appalling. There’s that part of me that wants to correct people on every little grammatical thing. But there’s also that part of me that realizes few people care as much about that stuff as I do…

    • I agree that there’s a fine line between correcting every mistake you hear/see and being helpful…but if we don’t do it, how will people ever learn? I say keep educating people! =)

      • I totally remember toilet terms and I loved them! This is how I learned “apropos.” Thanks for expanding my vocabulary! 🙂

  3. Agreed. Sometimes, though, I just hate being “that guy”, you know?

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