Sunday, December 11

The Basics of Bad Words in English

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The second most popular topic in English after pick-up lines is, of course, how to say bad words. 

Well, you have to admit: If you have somebody learning ANY foreign language, one of the first things that person will ask is this.

WARNING: If you are somewhat of a sensitive nature, I advise you to stop reading this now. Although the things that I’d be talking about here are pretty mild compared to what you have in the real world, I wouldn’t want to offend anyone.

For that matter, if you are a minor, you have to learn these things someplace else… I mean, in your own good time… I mean, never.  

If you ask me, this topic also has its practical uses. First, the ability to curse is one of the most human and expressive part of a language. H**l, it might even express or contain a vital part of your culture, no kidding.

Second, you might've made a stand never to use profane language in your life. But that doesn’t stop people around you from expressing themselves in that way. And if I were a non-native speaker of English, I should at least be trained how to tell if somebody else is cursing me to my face or just being extra casual with me. 

So I would know how to react and not just smile stupidly, right?

Last, I wish to avoid talking about this topic altogether, but then you have all these people from Hollywood and MTV who often can’t make a single sentence without using a bad word. This makes the whole thing like a forbidden fruit or a taboo. And the more you make it notorious the more people remain misinformed about it and the higher chance they learn it the wrong way.

What is a Bad Word?

Guys, a bad word doesn’t mean a word that’s grammatically wrong. No.

A bad word is a word that you say when you’re angry. And everyone who hears it won’t like it because it’s impolite. That’s why it’s called a “bad word.”

If I were to group bad words in English, I’d most likely put it under Slang. This is because your language becomes casual when you use bad words. And you have a choice whether to use them or not.

Every language in the world has its own collection of bad words. Every one of them as interesting as the other. Well, at least the similarities and differences across cultures are interesting.

From the title of this post, I’m here to teach you only the most basic. Anything beyond that would be excessive.

So, without further ado, let us begin with “fuck” and “hell.”

The “F” Word

Guys, "the F word" means “fuck” and not anything else. Because we are not allowed to use this word that much, most especially in front of kids, we say “Don’t use the F word” instead of the actual word itself.

So please don’t use "the F word" too much.

The most basic and important use of a bad word is emphasis, or how to make your expression stronger. In other words, you can use it in moments of extreme emotion or stress (when you're angry, frustrated, happy, afraid etc). 

And, because these are still pretty mild, other people who use it around you may or may not want to start a fight with you, depending on the sound of their voice or the situation. 

For example, take a look at these questions.

1.       Who is he?

2.       What is this?

3.       When did you arrive?

4.       Where are we?

5.       Why is she here?

6.       How can I do this?

Now, see what happens when you insert a bad word in them. Just put either “the fuck” or “the hell.”

1.       Who ____ is he?

2.       What  ___ is this?

3.       When ____ did you arrive?

4.       Where ____ are we?

5.       Why  ____ is she here?

6.       How ____ can I do this?

The expression becomes stronger, right?

But for you, the more important thing to learn is the right position to place that extra word in. 

You wouldn't wanna give yourself away as a wannabe English speaker, would you? ;-)

Other people would also use other words such as: “in the world,” “on earth,” “in God’s name,” (extra caution around religious people), and “the heck” (old expression). If you put them inside the same questions above, they would fit in exactly the same way.

Bad Words in Adjective Form

Our bad words can also become Adjectives this way:

Fuck----------------------------------> fucking

Shit---------------------------------->  shitty

Crap-------------------------------->  crappy

“Crap” means the same as “shit.” And because “shit” actually means the stuff that comes out of your asshole every morning, it’s not good. If somebody says “crappy” or “shitty” (Adjective), that’s definitely still the same: bad.

As you might guess, Adjective Bad Words would be used to describe.


You f***ing liar.

He’s f***ing stupid.

I’m f***ing confused.

What a sh**ty place!

This is a cr**py movie.

Everything else would be extensions and variations of the same basic idea, just to change their intensity. And unless these Adjective Bad Words are used to describe you, your friends, family or your most prized possessions, I’d say they’re still safe.

Variations of the basic (including bad words used as Nouns) are:

Get your ass out of here. / Piss off. 

Kiss my ass. 

You're an asshole. (arsehole, UK)

I had a bitch of a time. 

Bitchin' car. 

She's a stupid cunt. 

Damn you. 

You jerkoff. / You prick. / You pussy. 

Shit-brain./ You chicken-shit. 

You browny, shit-caked asshole. 


In summary

Beyond the basics, there’s a whole lot of other kinds of bad words out there. And as you can imagine, beyond the basics, you will be crossing a point of no return if you use them, because their intensity is also different. 

Words like “cunt,” “dick,” “twat,” “asshole,” “mother-fucker” etc.

Using bad words more and more often and stronger and stronger is like getting a tattoo. You’d be branded for life and people would be judging you the first time they see (or hear) you.

In other words, if you keep on using bad words most of the time and with increasing intensity and not just at moments of extreme emotion (anger, frustration), people will start connecting what you say to who you are. They will think that the way you speak is connected to your personality. And if you are not ready to be judged by people that way, I’d suggest you control your use of bad words.

If you think it just sounds cool to use a bad word, well, the total style (including the situation, feeling, your intonation, personality etc.) is also important. And if your bad word doesn’t match these, then you will not sound cool at all but the exact opposite.

So, proceed with caution. 


1 comment:

  1. I have never heard a woman being called a 'pussy' except in a nice way. But if you really want to upset someone, man or woman, call them a cunt. Not a nice word, and becoming more unusual in these politically correct days. If a man is called a cunt, it implies that he is underhand and devious. Not good characteristics!


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