"Fell over," said Harry.

" 'Choo fall over for?" sniggered Stan.

What does 'Choo mean? I suppose it's a dialectal spelling of some word, but I can't figure it out.

-- From Harry Potter.

1 Answer 1


Here the word "choo" is short for what you, with the auxiliary verb omitted. This line by Stan is basically:

"What (did) you fall over for?"

Dropping the auxiliary "did", what did you becomes what you, then whachyou, then choo. Stan is asking, "What did you do that for?" "Why did you fall over?" That is why Harry responds by saying, "I didn't do it on purpose."

I found a page with your quoted text. If you go down a bit further in the text, you will see another instance of this grammatical phenomenon.

"Choo lookin' at?" said Stan.

And this line means "What are you looking at?" with the auxiliary "are" dropped.

Also worth noting that two more common contractions for "what are/do you" are watcha or whatcha.

  • Yeah, I did see ""Choo lookin' at?" said Stan." Thanks! Is it a kind of some British dialect?
    – dan
    Nov 11, 2018 at 4:01
  • Also there is another line "Take 'er away, Ern, " said Stan... I suppose it's "Take her away", but I don't know who "her" refers to. There is not a girl or women in the context. Can you also do me a favor to explain it as well? Thanks!
    – dan
    Nov 11, 2018 at 4:08
  • 1
    @dan I am not a BrE speaker, so I can't give you a definitive answer. My hunch is that this contraction is the author's attempt at transcribing a speech style characteristic of certain region/personal choice/social class. Some people probably speak this way, but this contraction doesn't appear to be prevalent.
    – Eddie Kal
    Nov 11, 2018 at 4:12
  • 2
    @dan Okay, sure... I have never read Harry Potter, but I managed to find a page with the text you are asking about. The story introduces a bus driver and his bus prior to the line in question. It seems to me her refers to the bus or magical vessel that the driver Ernie drives. "Take her away" means Take off, Ern! When we ask someone to start something, like a performance or a speech, we also say "Take it away!"
    – Eddie Kal
    Nov 11, 2018 at 4:18

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