When someone asks me if the public toilets is free or not. Can i use ''paid'' as is the case with sentence below?

No , public toilets in this city are paid.

if it is wrong please show me what i should say .

3 Answers 3


Where I live in the UK they would be referred to as pay toilets rather than "paid", which makes more sense to me because "paid" is the past tense and would suggest they have already been paid for rather than you have to pay to use them. This is in line with many other kinds of services such as "Pay TV", which is one common term for subscription television. "Paid TV" is not a term that is used.

Another answer notes that "paid service" is idiomatically used, but this normally describes things on a subscription that you have paid for in advance, such as an internet provider. When such services that can be subscription are paid at point of use one common term is "pay as you go". Toilets are not something you pay for in advance - you pay at the point of use. Having said this, I would not like to be dogmatic about what they are called in other English speaking places and you may find that the answer to this is one of preference determined by region rather than the rules of grammar.


A paid service is one which people must pay for in order to have it:

The paid internet service was three times faster than the free one

Yes you can say that

public toilets in this city are paid.

  • This is not idiomatic in American English. Apr 8, 2019 at 9:16
  • 1
    I disagree. "Paid" is past tense and might well describe things paid on subscription such as broadband, but not things paid for at point of use.
    – Astralbee
    Apr 8, 2019 at 9:22
  • 2
    Kshitij Singh posted wrong answer to my question, and when I raised a question, she deleted her answer and voted -1 to my question. Apr 8, 2019 at 9:29
  • @InfimumMaximum, thank you. (Comment edited and moved to an answer.) Apr 8, 2019 at 10:09

"The toilets are paid" sounds awkward because it sounds like someone has paid for them, but the word 'for' is missing.

This sounds fine, but a little formal:

  • The public toilets in this city require payment.

@Astralbee's suggestion sounds fine too:

  • This city has pay toilets.
  • This city has many pay toilets.

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