How to Avoid Using Swear Words

27 Apr 2018

English Corner December

Jim Liang, Department of English │ ISSUE74 December2017 MyUM

How to Avoid Using Swear Words

Swearing is a common language use as well as social practice in modern society. People tend to become potty-mouthed when expressing their feelings, especially strong ones. However , there is really no need to use swear words to express feeling s (at least not yet!). In this article, we will introduce some altern atives to two typical swear words, the F-word and another four-letter word.


1 .   The F-word can be used as an intensifier in a sentence; for exa mple, ‘I can’ t f###ing believe it.’ In this case, there are many words starting with the letter ‘f ’ that we can use to replace the F-word, like ‘freaking’ and ‘flipping’. Some people may also use ‘frigging’, but this word can also mean ‘intercourse’. So be careful if you want to use ‘frigging’ to intensify your statement. Here are some good examples to show you how to use a lternatives in place of the F-word: 

It’s freaking cold, isn’ t it?’
‘That dude is flipping annoying!’

‘What a frigging messy house this is!’


2 .   Another four-letter word is used quite often in daily life. It serves as an intensifier as well. The four-letter word can be used in many circumstances. If you lost your wallet or smart ph one – ‘$h##’. If you accidentally dropped your IPhone X – ‘$h##’. If you missed the bus that would have gotten you to school on time – ‘$h##’. Here is another catchy word to replace the four -letter word, and I use it all the time: ‘shoot’. Although the word ‘shoot’ is usually used in sports to mean ‘attempt to score’, when you use it as an intensifier , it has no specific meaning. ‘Shoot’ becomes a word that helps you express how you feel.


There are also many other ways to swear without being noticed, like using some expressions you made up yourself, such as ‘wawawiwa’. Or you may also borrow the sentence structure of a swear expression and rephrase it into something like, ‘Y ou are just a piece of cake that I don’ t want to taste.’


– potty-mouthed: dirty-mouthed, as in people who swear a lot

– alternative: a different choice, a replacement

– intensifier: an expression used to strengthen or exaggerate what you want to express

Contributions to this column are from the
Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

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