University Writing Center Blog

Posted on April 18th, 2016 in Language by Jennifer Mahoney

by James White, Student Consultant, University Writing Center

As previously mentioned in an earlier post by one of our resident UWC badasses, George Carlin had a very famous routine that involved seven words that should never be said on television. Forty-four years later and one of the last words on his list was recently spoken on American Crime Story, marking one of the rare occasions that one of these “dirty” words was aired during primetime programming. Social media went insane, wondering if we have now entered a time in which these “dirty” words can finally be used more regularly.

Well, not quite.

You see, the FCC still restricts the use of many “dirty” words in most programming on television. Either that, or the network itself limits the amount of vulgar words used to maintain their image. But what about our written word? Is there anyone or anything preventing someone from writing and publishing work that’s riddled with every fucking swear word in the book, and then some? Only one thing prevents a writer from adding these vulgar words to their works:

Common sense.

When a writer pens their work, they have a particular purpose for their work, as well as an intended audience for said work. If you want to try to use these “sentence enhancers”, there is a methodology to doing so. Including swear words would be appropriate in a paper over a topic that you are truly passionate about, especially if its purpose is to persuade the audience to share in your opinion. However, you probably shouldn’t use swear words, like goddamn and fuck, in papers you would give to a spiritual professor. On the other hand, if you are taking ENG W-270 with Mike Hughes, the more motherfuckers you can add to your researched argument, the better off you’ll be.

Ultimately, be cautious when using swear words. Not all instructors approve of that kind of shit, and inappropriate use of the wrong word could lead to some very serious consequences. However, you if ever become so damn lucky to successfully use one of these words in a paper, make sure to brag your ass off. You’ll fucking deserve it.