*keep the profanity down in this thread please* I personaly dislike swearing, no offence to you if you choose to swear, that is your right. So my questions are: why do we do it? should we stop? what are the alternatives?

Tags: books, hank, insult, john, nerdfighter, nerds, profanity, slang, swearing, vlogbrothers, More…vulgar

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LOL  It would be cool if more american movies showed this side of the pep banders rather than the stereotype, that would be massively funny.

Swearing has it's place, like jargon.  So if the shoe fits, wear it.  Nonetheless, language contains many shoes, and they're all made for walking.

I came from a family that minded it's p's and q's but my parents would slip up from time time, and it would be the case that we'd learn more swear words at school, rather than from them.  Subsequently, my parents had some creative euphemisms in place of swear words. Like "frig"  or "ship".  Which we knew for what it was - a swear word we could use (sometimes, other times we'd be disciplined for using the euphemism too). In some ways this meant language became more coded and multilayered, and disciplined.  On the other hand, I think, it meant it became restrictive. So as it turns out over the years I've had to modify the way I speak to suit all sorts of educational and linguistic variations, and it just so happens that the occasional f-word isn't that offensive to most people.  On the other hand, people are often so polite they won't even tell you that it's offensive.  So I try and keep the swear words away from small children and the elderly (who tend to be more polite).  But on the internet, who f**n cares?  (no offense meant to Jennifer, OP)

I, for one, rarely swear, for the sole reason that I don't feel the need to. I don't mind when other people swear though. 

I think people swear because they are frustrated or are surprised. I think a lot of younger people (middle schoolers and high schoolers, to be more precise) swear a lot because it seems cool or mature. They hear adults swear, and come to the conclusion that swearing makes them seem more adult and mature. If not, then they see their peers swear and decide they should too. However, they wind up coming off as immature because a lot of middle schoolers, at least from my experience, seem to swear too much or at innapropriate times because they don't recognize yet when they should use it.

I think the key is moderation. If you swear too much it comes off as rude and immature, but that doesn't mean swearing is inherently bad. Swearing can help express emotion such as frustration and pain. Due to this, I don't think people should stop, but just act maturely about it and use it at appropriate times. For example, don't swear in front of young children, because they aren't yet mature enough to understand when to use it.

I hope I've explained my points well, and I'm sorry if it comes off as redundant, I have a tendency to do that.

So I read all the pages to get the gist of everyone's thoughts and so I don't repeat what someone said. Personally I don't use swear words as much as my friends or I don't use the same words, hypercritical maybe i'm just not comfortable using those same words such as f*ck, sh*t, bi*ch you get my meaning. This was pointed out earlier that some words became swear words over and that wasn't their intended definition like bi*ch=female dog, it has morphed into a derogatory term. Other words like hell, damn, crap were considered swear words but are now perfectly acceptable for the most part.

Why we do it? Cause were human we feel emotions and we all have different ways of expressing them and different levels of vocabulary with what we say when expressing them. Sure to some I could be the worlds dirtiest mouth to some cause I use substitutes instead of the actual words but to others but to others I could be considered considerate. I know when I get really upset I have quite the vocabulary and I can swear with the best of them.

Should we stop? Sure why not it doesn't make you sound any more intelligent to me but that's just my opinion and who am I to any of you putting in my views like i'm just some random guy, and truly will it ever be considered that we all stopped swearing there will always be someone who will consider what you say to be offense or some swear word

What are alternatives? I think it's in there somewhere where i've already written so ya these are my thoughts on this


I have no problem with swearing. I think it is perfectly fine to say any word you want whenever you want. Considering everyone has the right to free speech, I don`t see why I should be allowed to swear whenever I want. But my main problem with people who are against swearing is this:

Explain what is so vulgar about swear words. Why are they so much worse than every other word in the english dictionary? I mean, sure they have a negative connotation but so do many other words. Words that you probably use often enough like selfish, arrogant, ignorant etc. It is not fair nor right to stop people from using 'swear words'.

This is my opinion.

I don't normally swear, and so it annoys me when people cannot say a sentence without doing so. Not because I find swearing vulgar or think it is wrong, I just think it is unnecessary. I find if someone doesn't usually swear and then they use a swear word it adds impact and you see more of a meaning, and so swearing in that sense is fine. But when people do it twenty-four/seven it leaves the words with no real meaning at all.

Stephen Fry did an enlightening episode on swearing in Planet Word, and one of the reasons mentioned as to why we swear is that it somehow alleviates physical pain, i.e. it can be something of a physical response to hitting your thumb with a hammer or stubbing your toe. However, swear words can also become a verbal crutch if used too frequently, that imprecations become an unconscious part of every discourse you would have with anyone else. You probably should avoid such people if you take umbrage too easily from swearing. 

Personally, I don't see why people should be offended. Swearing is if anything a part of the local linguistic landscape, and as far as I can see, swear words more often than not aren't exactly used by their literal meanings in normal conversations. Me, I used them on the most casual of terms with my friends, and there is this mutual unspoken understanding that we don't intend to 'f%%%' each other and middle fingers are exchanged jokingly. There are, however, to my knowledge, certain words that on no account should we use in front of certain niches of people, and I don't mean those sensitive to a bit of swearing here and there. 

Amen to the first point.

When I dislocated - and then broke - my collar bone, the first twenty to thirty words were just fuuuuuu!

Bill - Stephen Fry's programme intrigued me although I don't think I really got my head around it. I remembered it was him in one interview with JKR asking why there was no swearing in Harry Potter. She said it was because the publishers wouldn't allow it.

I never knew swearing existed until I went to High School. I live in a small rural community of old people and a small village school.

When I moved to high school, about three times the population of my entire village, it was a massive culture shock that I had not been prepared for. These knew unknown words I had a feeling people weren't meant to be saying as they always looked shifty made me feel uneasy and 'got at', as my 'friend' from primary school started saying them around and aimed at me. I was the odd one out at school as I have an invisible disability so I didn't socialise much (see Luna). Most nights I went home crying wanting to move schools. I was the good Hermione who always did their work, never got detention (of which intrigues me now) and sucked up to the teachers, as that was how I'd been brought up: to respect authority.

I wasn't until after I'd left and I worked out the point of high school and I learned about it in the wider context, and political context that I'd realised what had gone on. I wasn't bullied at all. I was just the odd one out, and how weird I must have been. I've become much more relaxed now and am proud of where I went to school: I just didn't like the kids. I've also accepted that I may be socially delayed about five years due to my disability. This is 22q11 deletion syndrome if you could all put that into google please. It's quite rare so the more who understand it, the better.

I've accepted too that I swear like a trooper in my head, my guess is that I did want to be like the rest in the end, I'd just developed this Hermione persona and couldn't get out of it for the sake of my reputation and good grades. I'm an only child living with my parents. I've worked out too that my Dad swears more than me. That used to annoy me at first too, but now I understand what it means I've no problem with it. If anything, and I suppose this is why swearing is know as 'using adult language', it sound grown-up as I've accepted the lifestyle it belongs to. 

I still never swear out loud and my parents still wouldn't allow it. I'm also alarmed by how many young kids are swearing.  That is something that needs to be dealt with. Which is another debate in itself. Take child actors whose part involves swearing: are their parents happy about it? How do they deal with it? I think personally I would say to the child that what they said is a bad word that they would do best to not say out loud, and if they are caught saying the word it would be a bad thing. I may not explain what it means to them and let them work it out when they get to high school. It will happen sooner or later.

Now I'm all for one stamping out swearing all together, not to mention a whole-sale ban on any kind of cigarette or any other 'bad' things, but I know it won't happen. I think all I at least can do is accept that it is part of society, albeit a bad habit of society, and carry on exercising a 'swear free' vocabulary that you can hope others pick up on.

Take child actors whose part involves swearing: are their parents happy about it? How do they deal with it?

I believe that rather than sheltering children from curse words, they should be properly taught about them and explained their meanings, as well as appropriate and inappropriate uses. They are such a odd words in our society: some of the most powerful words in the language, used widely by adults in everyday conversation and in adult media to provide emphasis, yet something we try at all costs to hide from our children. It may be difficult to explain to children, "You can't use swear words because you are not old enough to understand when to properly use them. When you are, you will be able to, but selectively." but that is the truth. The whole, "These are words we don't say" thing is slightly ridiculous, as our society says them widely, just hides it. Basically, I think curse words should be explained to children as they are. As for child actors specifically, I think the best method would be to raise them with an idea of "movie time" similar to "play time," during which they will say and do things they do not mean, and nothing which happens to them during is real. A clear boundary between acting and real life, basically. Curse words would just fall into this category.

Now I'm all for one stamping out swearing all together, not to mention a whole-sale ban on any kind of cigarette or any other 'bad' things, but I know it won't happen. I think all I at least can do is accept that it is part of society, albeit a bad habit of society, and carry on exercising a 'swear free' vocabulary that you can hope others pick up on.

Here, I respectfully disagree with you, and the premise that swearing is a bad habit, especially on par with smoking. I think to ban it would be outright censorship, and wrong. Words that exist in our language exist because they have a purpose. They serve a meaning, have a role and thus are used daily. If they were no longer necessary, they would die out. I understand your experience with curse words, and can sympathize, but they are not always used to hurt people. You can use any word to hurt people: you can cause emotional pain and torment with regular, everyday words. Curse words are really just offensive and bothersome because society views them that way: many former swear words are now ordinary words, and vice versa. The word "bitch," for example, once was and still is the term for a female dog. However, because it was used for so long as a negative term towards women, it is offensive today, and when heard out of context, people assume it is this second meaning which is implied. This is obvious, however. My greater point is that curse words can be used to provide emphasis, and spice up a bland monologue. It is precisely because they evoke a reaction in humans (you listen up, you take notice, you are stimulated, intrigued, perhaps a bit surprised or shocked) that they can be of such utility. They can make a monologue of dialogue less bland, and convey extreme emotion or pain. In real life, they can be used as an outlet for extreme emotion and pain. The best example I know of the utility of swear words is in comedy routines. I have a strong distaste for routines like the following: "So this ****ing ***** comes up to me like,  '****, ******, those are some **** nice shoes.' I tell her, '*****, I'm not even wearing no ******* shoes!'" It annoys me when people do that, whether in a comedy routine or in real life: it makes you seem unintelligent, as you are relying on curse words as a verbal crutch and filler rather than placing them properly and selectively for emphasis. I find a masterful example of swearing to be in George Carlin's routines, to give but one example.

In conclusion, (and I apologize for the wishy-washy wall of text above) curse words exist because they serve a purpose in our language. They can be used to demean and hurt people, yes, but so can non-swear words, we are just shocked and offended more when swear words are used in a verbal attack. When used properly, they can communicate emotion and pain, and provide emphasis on a comedy routine. On this basis, I believe curse words have some merit and utility for our society. Furthermore, if we draw up a list of "Words you are not allowed to say":

A) People will use them more, as they even greater appeal as "dirty words," both a social taboo and a crime
B) People will invent new ones, as language finds a way.

Good day to you, sir, and DFTBA.

Swearing according to Lewis Black, is like vitamins. It extends your life span. If you know what I mean. ^_^

This post made me think of Louis C.K.'s stand-up about swearing:

That video obviously has a lot of swearing so if you DO hate swearing, I wouldn't recommend it but it does bring up some good points and brings light and humor to swearing, even if you dislike it. 

I swear quite a bit but I think I use it in a way that isn't over the top. For example, I just graduated high school and around 10th grade is when kids start to realize HEY! I CAN SAY THOSE WORDS! Then, you walk down the hallway and your hear the 15-year-old girl behind you dropping the f-bomb every other word and it's unsettling and she sounds stupid and you wish she would stop. That is the kind of swearing that I find annoying and I know that at one time I was that 15-year-old girl because teenagers seem to have a bit of a honeymoon period with swearing where all you do is swear because it makes you "cool" and a "rebel". However, now I don't swear as much and I use swearing to express my extreme emotions which is basically what swearing is for. When people say Oh, I don't like when people swear., I think they miss the point of swearing and it's role in language. Let's say you're watching a rated R movie on cable TV and instead of saying f*ck, they say frick. Or a character is in a fight with a drug dealer and instead of saying "you're a b*tch" they say "you're a brat". It's not the same effect as saying those "bad" words because brat and frick aren't in the same kind of language category  as f*ck and b*tch. It's not the same level of intensity, it's not the same role in language, and it can't be taken seriously because of this. Swearing isn't a thing that should be used between every other word and that's what makes swearing important and impactful. 


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