The “F” Word

The f bomb. The f, eff, eph word. However you’d like to politely refer to it; lately, I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in the use of this particular profanity. It is everywhere nowadays, in the work place, all over the blogosphere, twitter, Facebook, and in the hallways of our schools. Now that the Supreme Court is looking into television decency rules that prohibit the use of the ‘seven’, I thought it time to look into why swearing is so over-done, has little to no shock value and its use ought to be limited, but not out of any sense of decency. Honestly, it just doesn’t phase me anymore. 

The f word used to be the penultimate of swear words, where its utterance would immediately cause a cessation of conversation, or get you in really big trouble with your parents- grounded for a month trouble with no TV, or worse if you’re of an age where your mother or father beat the daylights out of you.

The taboo on the use of this word wasn’t all that long ago, a few years it seems, but with the massive expansion of social networking, Facebook and twitter especially, the word is everywhere and it would seem we have become a nation of potty-mouths.

At least during WWII when there was ample reason to swear every other word, they were creative in coming up with other ways to put it – snafu, fubar. Vietnam Vets – they have earned the right to swear however they like. Not so much anyone else.










You have to consider the purpose of the use of profanity, in speaking and in writing. For shock value, or to make an emphatic point, but what’s the rational for swearing just to swear. The only time I really let loose is when a telemarketer decides they want to argue with me about whether or not I want what they are selling. You want to get your phone number taken off their call list, just say all 7 of the unallowable, creatively arranged, and they will hang up on you.

We have become a world lacking in imagination. We can’t seem to solve the problems we face. These aren’t new problems. We’ve had economic difficulties before, some would say more severe than the mess we’re in now. That was called the Great Depression and it was no joke for those in a position to solve the problems of massive homelessness and hunger. Now, we don’t work together. We have road rage and random acts of violence. We use unimaginative terms to get through our daily lives. Even our leaders get caught using it when standing too close to an open mic.

Perhaps it’s indicative of our educational decline, the over use of this word. It seems we’re graduating more and more students who can’t construct a sentence with subject verb agreement. They can sure talk a blue streak. I’m not talking about high school students either. I’ve run across numerous grad students seeking a master’s degree in English who can’t express themselves.

Writing is an art form but it is now taught by rote, without imagination in too many schools across the nation and around the world Until that is changed and the language is learned and used to it’s fullest effect, we could quite possibly be – as a people, as a nation, even the world – as the saying goes…

As with most profanity, the f word should be held in reserve, unused except in the most extreme and direst need not just any ole time you can’t use your brain and come up with a different turn of phrase.


Filed under writing

3 responses to “The “F” Word

  1. I’m with Katy, the meaning of words is essentially arbitary, you could use the word chicken (for example!) insted of the F word. Generally it’s not the word that offends me it’s the intent, kids swearing because it looks ‘cool’ is a shame but I often use the swear words somewhat interchangeably to express mild irritation. I’m only offended when there is deliberate malice behind the word used as an insult. But like Katy I do censor myself, especially around children, so I guess words do have an ingrined power.

  2. Here’s my thing – it’s just a word, like all other words, and it has its uses. I, myself, in casual conversation use it rather too much – probably due to a repressed childhood – but I also know (and sometimes use) those wonderful alternative words – swive, twiggle, and sard – that are forgotten by too many people in this day and age. Personally, people who choose to be offended by a word tend to bother me, but … then again, I do censor myself in certain circumstances, so maybe the behaviour is more ingrained than I thought it was 🙂 Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

  3. Well said, You certainly put some thought into it didn’t you.

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