How to write insults without swearing

UPDATED JULY 20, 2019. Further to our recent article about whether women should write swearwords or not, here is an updated and expanded version of some glorious, clean (well, cleanish) insults sent to me a couple of years ago by my cousin Alyson in Ottawa, Canada.

funny article about insults

William Shakespeare, King Lear

William Shakespeare was a master of insults, as you can see from above. That full quote, said by Lear to his daughter Goneril (why does her name always make me think of a sexually transmitted disease?) goes as follows:

“Thou art a boil, A plague-sore or embossèd carbuncle, In my corrupted blood.” Gee thanks, Dad. More of Willie’s best insults below. Meanwhile…

There was the exchange between Winston Churchill & Lady Astor:

She said, “If you were my husband I’d give you poison.”  He said, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.” [Read more…]

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?

[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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Should swearing be more fashionable?

Do you consider it a hanging offence when someone turns the air blue? Or are you, like so many of us now, getting used to hearing expletives and becoming less uncomfortable when someone yells out a four-letter word?

Should we accept swearing more into our daily life?

To swear or not to swear … that is the ****ing question…

Whether we like it or not, rude (but not personally based) language** is becoming more widely accepted in the media.

No longer does the air turn blue when someone says “shit.”

[Read more…]

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…]

Swearing: what’s REALLY in a word?

Swearing: what's really in a word?With the election for mayor coming up in Toronto, Canada on October 27th, there has been not only all the usual hype you would expect but even more of a brou-ha-ha caused by Rob Ford‘s (the incumbent) sad diagnosis of a colon tumor and his swift replacement by his brother, Doug.

Rob Ford is known for everything from doing crack cocaine to being a good mayor. [Read more…]

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