The four C’s of using profanity in writing

Valerie Teegardin


When mere words simply are not enough, profanity, if applied properly, can deliver a powerful reaction. It can be so powerful, that even the driest of sentences will have emphasis and emotion.

Take, for example, “I don’t care” versus ” I don’t give a fuck”.

Although both contain the same message, it’s the second phrase that lunges out and grabs the reader. The proper use of swear words, can convey humor, pain, and disgust in writing and knock the socks off the reader.

With every writing piece comes different expectations, especially writing tone. Be a conscious writer by keeping a target audience in mind.

If writing for class, a professor’s teaching style could cue a student in as whether they’d appreciate a deviance from the norm. But sometimes not even a perfect adjective can squarely face off against the brassy baritone of a good old-fashioned swear.

It’s a judgment call on how to go about firing bullets of sarcasm, wit and profanity into writing, as well as knowing when to holster it, before crossing into unwanted territory.

Dropping the F-bomb every other word is a sure way to receive an “F” on any assignment. Words are cheap and it’s dangerously easy to make it rain profanities like Lil Wayne.

Cussing is only effective when used in moderation, and carelessly spending curse currency will bankrupt a piece of writing’s integrity and moral standing.

“Pure” speech was once a mark of proper intelligence and no doubt is still true today. But that doesn’t mean swearing is a result of a limited vocabulary or a dire level of education.

Everyone can write, but only a few can write effectively. The lucky ones can masterfully combining ordinary words with volatile curses, to detonate an explosive piece of writing.

When used effectively it can create one hell of a ka-boom.

Valerie Teegardin can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @vteegardin.