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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Swearing: XXXX it, I’ve cleaned up my XXXXing language

OK, not everyone swears. But if you do let rip with the occasional 4-letter word, have you ever tried stopping yourself to use a “proper” word instead?

Swearing: why I've cleaned up my language

The (real) town of Shitterton, Dorset, England

As I write this I am in Canada and have been staying with my wonderful aunt who never swears, and has always frowned on us juniors using rude words in her company. So I resolved to clean up my potty-mouth while with her and use only the cleanest of expletives. [Read more…]