The Case for Swearing

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I use swearing quite a lot in my writing.

In fairness, I also use it in real life.

This is a point of disagreement between me and my mum. Not because I swear in front of her – I know better than that. But because we have opposing views on swearing.

To her, as to many people, it’s something needless and unpleasant.

But to me, it’s a vital part of our language. Swearing is an emotional carrier. It’s not about the meaning of the words themselves – that usually makes no sense in context. It’s the ability of swearing to accentuate the emotional tone of a message, whether that tone is anger, admiration, humour, or disgust.

Don’t get me wrong, there are problems with swearing. Certain words reinforce unpleasant implications about gender. Others reinforce taboos around sexual activities.

But in and of itself, I think that swearing is a vital part of our language.