1

The following passage is from the book Diary of a Wimpy Kid:

Halfway through the summer, I decided I was pretty much done with swim team. So I came up with a trick to get out of practice. I'd swim a few laps, and then I'd ask the coach if I could use the bathroom. Then I'd just hide out in the locker room until practice was over. The only problem with my plan was that it was something like forty degrees in the boys' bathroom. So it was even colder in THERE than it was in the pool. I had to wrap myself up in the toilet paper so I didn't get hypothermia.

How can I understand the phrase in the toilet paper?

I have got two explanations:

  1. I used the toilet paper to wrap the box.
  2. I wrapped the box, and make the box covered or wrapped in the toilet paper which has that thing over or round its surface.

I wonder which one is correct?

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    @ The Photon:The context is the following: Halfway through the summer, I decided I was pretty much done with swim team. So I came up with a trick to get out of practice. I'd swim a few laps, and then I'd ask the coach if I could use the bathroom. Then I'd just hide out in the locker room until practice was over. The only problem with my plan was that it was something like forty degrees in the boys' bathroom. So it was even colder in THERE than it was in the pool. I had to wrap myself up in the toilet paper so I didn't get hypothermia. – user48070 Nov 7 '13 at 6:35
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    This is strictly a literal interpretation. It was so cold he used toilet paper as a blanket- He wound the toilet paper around himself in a feeble attempt to keep warm. – Jim Nov 7 '13 at 6:46
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    IF you can picture a person with toilet paper wrapped around their body looking a bit like a very cold shivering mummy huddled up in a corner of the boy's bathroom trying to stay warm- Then you have understood this phrase exactly. Also, in the case of toilet paper, you never drop the toilet and refer to it as just paper, It's always toilet paper or sometimes TP for short. – Jim Nov 7 '13 at 6:56
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    Why do your explanations mention a box?? – J.R. Nov 7 '13 at 23:39
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    @Jim That looks like the answer to me! Also OP, I'm with J.R. on the box thing... Where in the book did you see a box mentioned? – WendiKidd Nov 8 '13 at 3:06
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This is strictly a literal interpretation. It was so cold he used toilet paper as a blanket- He wound the toilet paper around himself in a feeble attempt to keep warm.

Picture a person with toilet paper wrapped around their body looking a bit like a very cold shivering mummy huddled up in a corner of the boy's bathroom trying to stay warm.

Also, in the case of toilet paper, you never drop the toilet and refer to it as just 'paper', It's always toilet paper or sometimes TP for short.

  • In the UK, it is also known as toilet roll. – Tristan Nov 17 '13 at 19:41
  • @Tristan- If I handed you a small length of toilet 'paper' that I tore off the roll, would you still refer to that as 'toilet roll' I.e., do you say "There's no more tissues in the box, just use a piece of toilet paper? or piece of toilet roll? – Jim Nov 17 '13 at 19:51
  • Jim, it varies. Some people say toilet paper and some say toilet roll, even after it has been torn off a roll. – Tristan Nov 17 '13 at 19:57
  • Some people also call it loo roll. – Tristan Nov 17 '13 at 20:58
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Generally in English you would write "I wrapped the box in paper" unless you were previously talking about a specific piece of paper.

That being said "in the paper," or "in paper," is a prepositional phrase functioning as an adverbial adjunct. That is to say it modifies, and provides more detail to the verb. In this case it is expanding on what the the box is wrapped in.

1 is correct.

EDIT: The same applies to the phrase "in the toilet paper." It specifies what you wrap yourself up in.

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    If you look closely, you'll notice the sentence doesn't mention a box, and neither does the larger quote they posted in a comment. That means both of the OP's interpretations are probably wrong. – snailboat Nov 17 '13 at 18:51
  • @snailboat, the question originally posted asked about wrapping a box in paper. Only after we asked for context did OP reveal he was really asking about wrapping a person in t.p. – The Photon Nov 18 '13 at 19:58
  • @ThePhoton Oh, that's a good point, thank you. It's unfortunate, then, that the question was edited in a way that made an existing answer invalid. We should try to avoid such edits on SE. (I wonder if that's why this answer was downvoted.) In fact, it looks like the edits have made the question incoherent... – snailboat Nov 18 '13 at 20:06

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