Swearing: Think of Our Language!

Three in ten of us are subjected to swearing every five minutes, according to a recent report. When I was asked to comment on this for BBC Radio 5 Live the other day, my initial thoughts (apart from how bad this is) were for the English language itself. We have such a rich, vibrant and beautiful language and to limit it to a handful of words is such a pity.

People use the F-word and the like now as nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, pronouns and prepositions. We hear swearing on the television, in the cinema and on the street. These taboo words are not only unnecessary but also horrid for the ear: they have no mellifluous quality that some words do: none of us want to hear those abrasive sounds. Perhaps then they are well suited to their purpose.

But swearing all the time devalues it. There is (sometimes) a time and a place for the occasional swear word (although using a curse-word to describe someone is never acceptable). If someone who never swears does occasionally exclaim something a bit off-colour, then those around will know that the person is truly annoyed and angry But if we go about swearing left-right-and-centre, willy-nilly, then we automatically take away the gravitas and oomph that any invectives may have.

William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner

2 Responses to “Swearing: Think of Our Language!”


  1. 1 Prunella de Pedant 29 September 2009 at 8:05 am

    Fantastic post, Mr. Hanson, and I couldn’t agree more. We’re all a touch guilty of uttering the occasional expletive, but it is completely unaacceptable when swearing starts becoming part of someone’s regular vocabulary.
    Take a peek at a piece recently published in my online periodical:
    http://mienmagazine.com/social/do-we-swear-too-much-2/
    Here here, we must all think of our language!
    Fondly
    PDP

  2. 2 RobD 6 October 2009 at 8:17 pm

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. There are some good points here. :)


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