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Pet Peeve – Watch Your Language

October 26, 2013

Have you ever noticed that some people just seem to like profanity?  I work with some nice people who like to use swear words in every other sentence.  While I’ve learned to look beyond how they say things and understand what they are actually saying, I still can’t get over their perpetual use of foul language.

I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase “Grammar Nazi.”  Some people seem to care more about how you use the English language than what you are actually saying.  While I don’t believe I fall into that category, I do believe that the language we use says something about us.

Reasons people use profanity

I’m not an expert, but here are some of the reasons I think people use profanity.

  1. They are trying to impress others.  I’m not sure how, but some people, teens particularly, seem to think that profanity makes them look cool.  They see older people using foul language and laughing about it, and apparently think they have to do the same thing to fit in.
  2. They think that profanity expresses a deeper sense of emotion.
  3. They think that profanity adds emphasis to a particular point that they are trying to make.

How it really looks when people use foul language

  1. They seem to have problems with insecurity and self-image.  Anyone who spends too much time trying to impress others has image issues.
  2. They are disrespectful.  I realize that we don’t live in the 1800’s, but there is still a certain sense of what is appropriate language in many situations.  Whether you are in the presence of women and children, in church, in a business setting, or at a party, there are some things that are appropriate to say and there are some that are not.
  3. Their vocabulary is too limited for adequate self-expression.

A couple of reasons to avoid the use of profanity

  1. Language can affect your upward mobility in your career of choice.  Companies do more research now than ever before before hiring or promoting employees.  Some companies even research your Facebook page, twitter account, and other social media platforms to see how you act when you are relaxed.
  2. Language can cause you to miss certain important opportunities.  Some people will turn you off immediately when they hear profanity.  This keeps you from building connections that might lead to opportunities in the future.
  3. It is, in my opinion, simply a bad habit to form.

I guess I should, in all fairness, add a disclaimer that I am not a serious linguist.  Neither am I a psychologist.  However, I find it disturbing that people resort with such regularity to inappropriate language.

Thanks for reading my “rant,”



From → This and That

  1. I needed to hear this have been on twitter and I get this so much as a Mostly Liberal. I was beginning to think I was out of touch. Thank you, well written.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Luanna.

      I don’t think it really matters whether one is liberal or conservative. There is a standard for verbal communication which doesn’t allow for crass and profane language.

      I just wish more people knew it and chose to abide by it.

      • You are so right. But most of the people don’t use their own name and inhibition ends. I use my first name but there are many people with my name, I’ve checked.

  2. I work in public high school as a one-on-one asistant for a main-streamed exceptional education student and run into this problem constantly. I think that a lot of kids are so used to hearing profanity in the music that they listen to (especially rap and hip-hop) that they don’t even realize they are using it sometimes. I know that I have asked students to “watch thier languange” and they weren’t even aware that they were using foul language.

    • That’s a good point Laura. I must admit I hadn’t thought of the music angle. I’m curious, do you have interaction with the student’s parents? Do the parents use the same language? Also, if they do use the same language, do they realize that many people find it offensive?

      Thanks for reading and for sharing.

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