Rest Rooms


"Restroom". Nothing quite so transatlantic, and so immediately American than for a Brit to hear the phrase "restroom".

There are all sorts of theories on the divergence of names for "the smallest room", most of which seem to agree on them being polite phrases to cover what happens therein. And although the French are probably right in that the British spend to much humour based on it, we do seem to have hijacked their "Toilette" for our usual polite name of the Toilet (the "William Crapper" notwithstanding).

Stack Exchange has a far too detailed discussion on what might breakdown the usage here but in our simplistic view, it's more clear cut.

Restrooms in the UK are rare. It's not a subtle replacement of word or phrasing, unlike a Math/Maths type switch it's obvious, and out there, and makes a clear statement. And so companies like Subway who are actively using Restroom naming and signage in many of their restaurants (Slough Trading Estate, we're certainly looking at you) are to be commended (the cynical amongst us suspect this is cost savings to use the same signs globally rather than part of our grand plan, but we'll take it).

It might be some time before institutions like Marks and Spencer introduce the Restroom sign, but global franchises, frequented by the younger generation more likely to use the phrase, seems like the perfect place to start.

Americanisms in the UK …. you do the math

Americanisms in the UK …. you do the math

Math vs Maths. One letter, but it almost defines two languages, and certainly immediately highlights which side of the Atlantic the speaker is placing themselves.

Interestingly, whilst most traditional British English speakers balk at the shortening of the word losing the “s”, there is a fairly valid argument for doing so.  Daily Writing Tips have an excellent breakdown of it here, but the essence is that it still depends where you are from.

This is incredibly helpful to the state51 cause, since the word can be dropped in for casual use, yet makes a very clear statement about our language and “mental home country”, something that’s increasingly natural among the under 15’s where “math” is becoming as common as “maths”.

Nowhere is as forthcoming as “you do the math”. Picked up from many a film or TV show from the US, this is slowly but surely entering the British vernacular. Essentially meaning “it is obvious” (see Urban Dictionary for some examples in usage), it is an easily passed quip but with a deep intention and slow burning language changing effect.

Kudos to Channel 4, using this at the end of the voiceover after Hollyoaks on Thursday, bringing this both to a mainstream audience in prime time, and of a great demographic to spread onward use.

Whilst we aren’t yet aware of any UK schools or colleges referring to “math” on their timetables, how long they can resist the change, well, you do the math.

Storm Doris

Storm Doris

Storm "Doris", the fourth of the 2017 winter season, is currently heading to the UK.

The introduction of naming storms in the UK felt like a  massive step forwards back in 2015 when "Abigail" became the first storm named by the Met Office. Interestingly though, this isn't actually the longstanding US tradition it's perceived as.

Wikipedia tells of the naming of US storms since the 1700s, although actual systematic naming throughout each season was only introduced by "The Weather Channel" back in 2012, and to this day these aren't formally recognized by the NOAA/NWS.

Nonetheless, storm names are used widely throughout broadcast and internet news, communities, and printed press in the US and the move to use them in state51 is to be encouraged. The names are going to need some work ("Penelope", Wilbert" and Gertrude"?) for future seasons, but usage should be increased where possible.

A Note on Brexit

A Note on Brexit

On 23rd June 2016 the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. this is colloquially referred to as "Brexit".


People often assume our stance on the UK aligns us with the "remain" campaign.

This is not so. We see the major cultural, economical, military and political power in the world as the United States of America, and as such fully support leaving the EU, leaving the way clear for a joining of the UK to the USA.