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2016/10/02

How to Write: Week 21: Profanity & Slang: Sunday (Method)

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    If someone tells you that profanity is used by people with small vocabulary: tell them “Fuck off.”  Your politeness level is relative to how much you respect them.
    Profanity is a vital aspect of vocabulary.  It is necessary at times for exclamation, when in pain for instance, or for times of extreme emotional duress.
    Profanity is any word which is looked upon negatively by “polite” society.  There is a right way and a wrong way to use profanity.
    Overuse in a gratuitous nature, if that is not the intent of your piece, is akin to unnecessary detail.
    Example: That fucking shit asshole just fucking pissed me the fuck off.
    There may be a cathartic effect in saying that out loud, but in general, it conveys little.      There is an asshole and s/he pissed someone off.
    In the grand scheme of things, few slang words graduate to the level of true vernacular .  The benchmark of acceptance is typically the Oxford English dictionary.  Before this happens, it may behoove you to consider omitting slang that is unnecessary.  Slang is typically a better fit for fiction and nonfiction.  However, if the slang is necessary to keep the truth of the moment, then use it.
    Example: “The guy I loved said we were cool” versus “the male human I am romantically involved with said everything was fine.”
    The truth may be better conveyed in the shorter sentence.  Again, all is relative.
    Sometimes a combination of slang and profanity may arise don’t be afraid to experiment to find the truest expression you can.
    Keep in mind, there is no obligation to use profanity or slang, it is just another tool. 

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Azriel Johnson is an inkspatter analyst by day and a serial writer by night. He runs a small, not money losing publishing press and a weekly open mic with monthly features called Writing Knights Press.

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