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Is It Bad to Use Swear Words?

We seem to be choosing our words less carefully these days. Words that were formerly never used in movie and TV scripts are now uttered freely. Even President Donald Trump used off-color speech while campaigning in 2016 -- and his supporters said that made him seem more genuine. Now, a January 2017 study conducted by the University of Cambridge tells us that people who swear are often more honest. The researchers concluded that people who don’t filter their language are also less likely to filter their views. The researchers asked 276 people why they swear, and most of the respondents said that it was to express their true selves and be honest, or to express negative emotions, rather than to insult or intimidate others.

Can we handle the truth?

  • The study found that people from northeastern U.S. states such as Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York are more likely to swear than folks in southern states like South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
  • Commenting on the study results, co-author David Stillwell admitted that swearing is often inappropriate. “If people said what they think all the time,” he added, “would that really be a good thing?”
  • In the 1939 film Gone With the Wind, Rhett Butler says, “Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.” The filmmakers were fined $5,000 USD for violating the Motion Picture Production Code by including profanity.
Discussion Comments
By anon997631 — On Feb 07, 2017

I'd say we're taking a step back from civility and down into the gutter, when people can't think of any way to express themselves.

By anon997629 — On Feb 07, 2017

"University of Cambridge tells us that people who swear are often more honest"

See how they worded that? Note the important presence of the word 'often', which makes the meaning of the sentence much different than it would be without it, although the intent of the writer seems to prefer that readers take away the feeling that they've just read a piece of research indicating that those who don't have a habit of cussing are less likely to be honest.

The fact of the matter is that cussing has less importance as an indicator of honesty than the manner of communication.

No cussing in my post, and no cussing in the article either, indicating we may both be lacking?

By anon997627 — On Feb 07, 2017

We've come a long way in 75 years! I'm thinking overall for the better. Hiding things under the rug can be very bad in the short and long run.

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