English Language: Obscenities


I remember when the word “bloody” caused refined ladies to call for their smelling salts.  Now %?&/ and @!\# are commonplace, and &?*# is the only word left with power to shock.

What makes me stroppy is our failure to agree on when it’s OK to use these words in print; when we have to use asterisks and ampersands; and when we should give the reader a clue by supplying the initial letter.  I’ve even seen different treatments in the same edition of the same newspaper.

Why can’t the editors of the world get together and agree on a standard?!  To save money, they could share the conference facilities with the electricians when they agree on a universal power socket.

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