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Articles > Rant October, 20, 2015

Why Do People Swear So Much In This Country?

Jemma Ansell
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I moved to the UK four years ago after living overseas my entire life, and yet here I am, four years later, still baffled and most certainly not immune to the language that surrounds me day in, day out.

Perhaps if I’d grown up here, I too could let the repeated dropping of ‘F-Bombs’ fall on deaf ears. However, sadly I did not, and I still find myself wincing every time I hear the word casually used in public.

Why do people swear so much in Britain?

Illustration of cartoon angry looking army drill sergeant shouting at the viewer

Does the word offend me? Not particularly no. I acknowledge that it’s simply another word in the English Dictionary which unfortunately possesses negative connotations.

Yet I still feel uncomfortable when I hear it repeatedly used in supermarkets, on the street and well, anywhere in this country to be quite honest. And before you jump the gun and assume I’m some prig who would like everyone on this planet to never swear and always say their P’s and Q’s. No. No, I am not that person.

I swear too. Everybody does once in a while. But the thing is, in this country, it really isn’t once in a while. For instance, where I used to live, for over a decade, I never once. Not once. Heard the F-Word in a public place. *GASPS*

I am almost certain anyone reading this simply wouldn’t believe me, but it is indeed true. And of course the reason you don’t believe me is because swearing, I honestly think, has become an intrinsic part of British culture.

However, why does this bother me you ask? Doesn’t everyone possess the right to choose the words which exit their mouths? Yes. Yes they do. And that is the reason swearing doesn’t offend or upset me, instead quite often it amuses me.

It amuses me because I find it strange that in the country which brought us the beauty of the English Language, almost every other intensifier, adjective and adverb used in conversation is the ‘F-Bomb’. This brings me back to my question therefore; why do people swear so much in this country?

Why do we all (myself included) fall back on this one word; which essentially means to copulate, so very often? We have an entire dictionary at our fingertips and yet we resort to this rather undescriptive and essentially quite dull word. Sadly I haven’t spent years studying the use and origins of the F-Word, and thus can’t supply you with a definitive answer. However, I would love to suggest some alternatives which would most certainly turn heads, but not for quite the same reason.

In need of an insult but don’t want to resort to that commonly used phrase which has absolutely no impact? What about turning to the Bard himself?

Henry IV Part 2
“You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!”

Desperate to communicate that you’re smashed in a more creative fashion? How about resorting to some more entertaining similes?

I’m as drunk as a skunk.
I’m as drunk as a lord.
Or perhaps get even more inventive and make up your own:
I’m drunk as you I am think. (sadly that wasn’t my own creation but I’m sure you could do better)

Now I must admit I do not see these catching on in the near future, nor do I possess much hope of hearing these phrases from people falling out of nightclubs. Nonetheless, my point still stands that instead of resorting to the ever so classic F-Word, why not think before we speak? Not out of politeness, but simply because the other 1,025,108 words of the English Language are calling out to be used for a change. If our ancestors took the time to create them, why not f**king use them!

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