Search Results for: swearing

Swearing: should we accept or ignore it in our blogging?

Are you guilty of using a foul word or two in your blogposts, emails, comments, Facebook/Twitter posts et al? Do you think they enhance what you’ve written – or do they make you look foul-mouthed?

I know I am guilty of using words that I shouldn’t. Many of my articles, posts, comments etc. are peppered with (usually mild) profanities which tend to roll off the virtual tongue quite easily – or at least they do if you are, as I am, surrounded by lippy young people who fire off swear words if they so much as misplace a sandwich or find a hair extension out of place. As such, their use does have a nasty habit of becoming second nature. And I know that’s no excuse…

There are many people out there – and not just older folks – who find swearing objectionable, and you can’t blame them. Mostly they have been brought up to believe that swearing and cursing are disrespectful to the majority of people. My parents put across, to me, the diktat that the use of swear words merely demonstrated one’s ignorance and lack of vocabulary (mind you, that all went out of the window when one of them stepped on a live wasp or slammed their finger in a car door.)

Two categories – religious, and vulgar

As far as I can see it, swearwords in our modern age fall into two categories: 1) religious cursing, and 2) vulgarisms.

Religious cursing is very sensitive for many people and it’s something I try to avoid – don’t you? But what about words like “damn,” damned,” or “damning?” Despite those appearing largely innocuous these days, should someone wish to take it to the limit, there could be a religious connotation here.

And that doesn’t even begin to infiltrate what some people write using terms that may offend a whole host of religions from Christian to Judaism to Islam to who knows how many more. So is it appropriate to use religiously orientated swear words in our writing? In my humble opinion, absolutely no way.

OK, how about the serious vulgarisms?

Here’s where we enter relatively uncharted waters.  I remember once asking my father where he thought the word f*ck came from, and he – as a veteran of WW2 – trotted out the explanation that it’s an acronym standing for “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.” Nice one. But is it true? According to Wikipedia, the origins of the F-word are vague… so I doubt that my Pop’s answer was correct, convenient though it may have seemed at the time. Snopes.com seems to agree with me on that one.

And then there is the ultimate vulgarism (or at least so most of us think) – c*nt.  Where does this awful, horrible word come from? Wikipedia, bless them, have explored this one to a helpful extent and say, “the earliest citation of this usage in the 1972 Oxford English Dictionary, c 1230, refers to the London street known as Gropecunt Lane. Scholar Germaine Greer has said that “it is one of the few remaining words in the English language with a genuine power to shock.”

Maybe it’s the connotation, but maybe, too, it’s the sound of the word. Germaine was right. Would you use this word in any of your writing? OK, but there are lesser swearwords that express our thoughts so well, and they don’t resonate with quite the same impact.

Does swearing actually have a legitimate place in our writing?

This is where it gets a bit more interesting. Swearing, whether the purists like it or not, is a very common element in our every-day parlance. It’s part of our modern culture.

So, do we – as people charged with reflecting realistically this modern culture in our writing – pronounce judgment and exclude swearing as naughty, smutty, dirty and undesirable? Should we adopt the nanny-like stance of television drama in which even evil villains, murderers, drug dealers, etc. only say a mere “bloody” here and a “sh*t” there?

blogging,writing,blog writing,business,newsletter,HowToWriteBetter.net,How To Write Better,Suzan St MaurOr should we incorporate the swearing that people use in everyday speech, into the writing we do in our blogs, comments, posts, articles and more?

I’d love to know how you guys feel about this, so please jot down your comments here.

Brush up your writing, whether you swear or not:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well
“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write
“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

Should we ladies write swearwords? Discuss.

Well, f**k my old boots and call me potty-mouthed, but I swear. I swear when I speak and I swear when I write. How about you other ladies? (Or if you want to be PC, “women?”)swearing by women Many of us “gals” the wrong side of 40 grew up believing that if Daddy stubbed his toe and said the F-word we would smile and tut-tut sympathetically, but if the same happened to us we would be told that swearing is unladylike and deserving of chastisement — not an ice pack and analgesia.

Unladylike? An ancient word?

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How to insult nicely in writing, with business jargon…

Jargon and slang as metaphors are wonderful tools to use if you want to insult or express rage in a business context without swearing or ranting.

business jargon and slang to use when youre angry

MBWA: Management By Wandering Around, suggesting that managers simply walk around rather than do their jobs properly…

Here is a selection for you to keep handy, excerpted from my jolly little book English Business Jargon and Slang…  [Read more…]

What to write to spammers

The first thought to cross our minds is, DON’T! Answering a spam email or comment only tells the spammer that you are a live link and they’ll pester you forever afterwards.

Should we write back to spammers?

How much spam really has been reduced as a result of GDPR and other data protection reforms in 2018?

However there are times when you should throw caution to the wind and have a bit of fun with the spam you receive, if for no other reason than it’s a little bit of revenge to pay them back for bothering you.

But what about GDPR and all the other privacy rules that were tightened up this year?

What about them, already. [Read more…]

How to write better (or fewer?) swear words in English

Have you ever wondered why the British seem far more relaxed about using swear words in writing and speech than people from other English-speaking nations?

Many linguists are of the opinion that because swear words are used much more commonly in English-language film and TV programmes, on live radio and TV (hopefully after the watershed), and in general conversation, the words have gradually lost their rudeness and shock-value.

is it wrong to swear in writing

Can some swearing is speech and writing be justified?

Which could be a shame, in a way. If current swear words have lost their mojos, how next can we express ourselves with vigour and shock factor? But that’s probably for another article/thought piece.

It’s true that many millennials use rude language pretty freely wherever they live within the USA, Canada, Australia and other English language areas. But if you are the wrong side of 25 years old, you may well be influenced by older values that vary wildly from country to country.

UPDATE January 27, 2018 … Just published by academic Debbie Cameron on her Debuk blog: here is an extract:

“Asking whether women should swear is a bit like asking whether women should have children out of wedlock, or weigh more than seven stone: it’s a question designed for no other purpose than to allow people to air their prejudices. And those prejudices are, in most cases, socially selective. If a single mother on benefits peppers her discourse with ‘f*ck, tw*t and b*stard’, people say she’s ignorant, unable to express herself in any other way. If a stand-up comedian who went to public (private) school uses the same words in his act, people say it’s edgy and subversive.” Seems that people have serious double standards where swearing is concerned. Read this article – as well as the rest of mine here!

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How to write copy to sell a book of poems? Write more poems.

How to write better book marketing comms … When I started promoting my latest book, Mischieverse, a friend challenged me to write original verses to advertise it and accompany the silly photos I’ve been shooting of the book’s cover. Not being one to back off a challenge (and I love writing rhymes anyway), I got down to it.

Hilarious gift for the Holidays - "Mischieverse," by Suzan St Maur

How to promote a book of naughty poetry … do what it says on the tin

Now the same friend has suggested I publish all the short promotional verses because they’re quite entertaining in their own right. I didn’t argue. Enjoy…

Sharing Mischieverse, with the universe

Friend need relief from Brexit stress? [Read more…]

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