Topic of the Week:Grammar Girl

09/09/2010 § 2 Comments

This week we are focusing on Grammar Girl. Grammar Girl teaches you all about Grammar and really helps those of us who are grammatically challenged become better writers. I found an article that was really interesting on Grammar Girl’s site that I think could be not only useful to others but is definitely a very interesting subject and it is on swearing.

Now I must preface by saying that I don’t usually swear. Being not only a Christian but a classy woman, I tend to find swear words to be a bit filthy. Now I’m not saying that sometimes some words that, in today’s society aren’t seen as horrible swear words, don’t sometimes come out, but I would never EVER use them in my writing. Things such as “crap,” “dang,” and the borderline swear “pissed” sometimes slip from my lips but would never slip from my pen. Grammar girl tackles this taboo subject and provides some insight into swearing.

I learned from this article that swearing is a way to express and evoke emotion. Swearing holds a certain power. But what grants them that power? According to grammar girl, “What gives swearing this power? In short, a society’s taboos. “Taboo” in this sense covers not just the forbidden, but any domain of activity or social interaction where social norms regulate behavior (4, 5). Whatever a society deems taboo is a wellspring of words deemed obscene or profane—as well as euphemisms for those words.”

One thing that surprised me was that sometimes it is okay to swear in your writing. “If you’re writing fiction, use obscenity or profanity only if it will sound stranger for your character to avoid it than to say it. I’ve had editors tell me that a common mistake new fiction writers make is to use too much swearing, and that it’s very off-putting. If you’re writing nonfiction, use a swear word only if the emotion you’re conveying is strong enough to merit violating a taboo. Otherwise, you weaken its power for other situations.”

Thanks Grammar Girl for your article


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§ 2 Responses to Topic of the Week:Grammar Girl

  • daverlapham says:

    Wow. Great article Jessica. Isn’t it crazy that your allowed to curse when writing fiction. That one kind of threw me for a loop. I like your style of writing though. Very strong and easy to follow. One thing to look out for is length. I’m not sure if she said it had to be under a certain amount of characters. Great job!

  • […] Jessica Nguyen – Grammar Girl […]

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