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>If the substitution is that simple, there’s something wrong with the sentence.

>Another one from the Guardian, about a little furor surrounding Jacqueline Wilson’s latest, My Sister Jodie:

“The word ‘twat’ was used in context. It was meant to be a nasty word on purpose, because this is a nasty character,” said a spokesperson for Random House. “However, Jacqueline doesn’t want to offend her readers or her readers’ parents, so when the book comes to be reprinted the word will be replaced with twit.”

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Anonymous says:

    >Twut could be wrong with that sentence?

  2. Roger Sutton says:

    >Twat me!

  3. Anonymous says:

    >I was under the impression that ‘twat’ in American English was a much more rude word than it is in the British usage. Is the American usage prevailng in Britain now, and is that why it has become unacceptable?

  4. >Just a side note — My husband belongs to a club of old sports cars — MG “T” type cars. Once a group of these car owners took their cars out on the road, all having a sign on the boot of the car which said, “TWATT.”

    Now, any T-owner knows that that means, “Travel with a T-type” automobile. However, they were pulled over by the highway police and given the choice of removing their signs or going to jail. Obscene language, don’t cha know.

    (It was a perfectly acceptable sign in England and had been used by the English branch of the car club several times.)


  5. david elzey says:

    >Is it wrong to suggest that only a twat would consider ‘twit’ an acceptable substitute?

  6. Roger Sutton says:

    >Michael Rosen has some sensible thoughts on the subject.

  7. >My friend Taylor Watson had similar troubles when email addresses were being handed out at school. Format was first initial, first four letters of last name before the @ sign. So, that made me egers@. Sadly for him, he was twats.

  8. Anonymous says:

    >Oh, Elissa, that is funny. Just the sort of thing that follows you the rest of your life, too.

    But I have to disagree with Roger, after giving this some thought. I think the twit and twat in Britain are much closer in meaning than they are in the US. I am going to respect Wilson and trust that if Wilson thought the change was significant and negative, she wouldn’t have made it. Do we have to get our knickers in a twist about EVERYTHING? Can an author say, “It’s not a big deal, go ahead and change it,” or is there some imaginary line in the sand we have to fight to defend absolutely, no matter how trivial the infraction?

  9. Roger Sutton says:

    >Yeah, I don’t think twat is as offensive as cunt, but twat and twit can’t be all that close in meaning if parents object to the former and the publisher accedes via the latter.

  10. Anonymous says:

    >I think it’s just simply that the British are more grown up than we are as a country. After all, the see the humor in an actor showing his bum on TV, whereas here in the USA it will damage the delicate psyche of all who are forced to experience it and lead ot years of therapy relieved only by multi-million lawsuits.

    Three words America: GET OVER IT

    I think it’s time for all of us to move to Canada…or extend their borders down over the top third of the States.

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