Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi, everybody and welcome back to English Topics. My name is Alisha. And, today, I'm joined again by…
Davey: Hi, I'm Davey.
Alisha: Davey. It's Davey.
Davey: Just Davey.
Alisha: It's Davey.
Davey: It's me. It's Davey.
Alisha: It's Davey.
Davey: It's me, Davey.
Alisha: Today, we're going to talk about How Not to Swear. So, of course, every language has some very fun swear words to use and English is no exception. We have lots of good creative words to use. But, they are not always appropriate. So, how do you swear when you want to swear but you cannot say a swear word. That's what we're going to talk about today. So, we have a lot, I think. We have a lot of examples.
Davey: Well, there's a lot of real swear words and there's a lot of fake ones, too.
Alisha: Yep, yep. I think you have more than me. No?
Davey: Maybe.
Alisha: Alright. I'll start us off from this one then. I'll start with a very, very tame one. Apparently, maybe I'm the only person who uses this. When making a mistake, a childhood mistake or a small mistake. Actually, I still use this word. Small mistakes, I say, "foo." I do this like, "Oh, foo." It's like--a very--I deleted the wrong file on my computer and it wasn't an important file. Or, I dropped the cap to my toothpaste or something. That's a very specific example. If something small goes awry, if I make a small mistake, I was like, "Oh, foo!" Something like that. Sort of cute, I guess, but kids. I used this a bit when I was kids. This "foo" and "oops" also. "Oops" is another big one for small mistakes, yep.
Davey: I've never heard "foo" before.
Alisha: Really?
Davey: No. "Oops," I'm familiar with.
Alisha: "Oops," I never meant—"Oops" and "foo," okay. Those are a couple that I've used, yep.
Davey: Okay.
Alisha: Are we ready to go into some more?
Davey: Absolutely. Yeah. So, my first word here is "heck." This is one of a family of fake swear words that are all very close. Words that are very close to a real swear word. Words like "heck" and "shoot," "darn," "dang," "fudge." All words that if you just change one sound, you make it from a swear word to something sounding so sweet and innocent. Like "fudge." Fudge is delicious but it's a stand-in for something much darker.
Alisha: Indeed. But, again, we use that to express a mistake, something is not gone the way we expect it to. "Fudge."
Davey: But, if you want to really say something else but you just can't, "fudge."
Alisha: "Fudge." Good one. Okay, yeah. You kind of already touched on this one but my next one was "Dangit!" My brother and I, my younger brother and I, we actually still used this word with that intonation. I don't know why we're so attached to this. I think it's—actually, I don't know, I guess it's just a habit. We still use this word. Usually, I guess I do most of my swearing at the computer.
Davey: Okay, sure.
Alisha: It's just that it causes so much frustration and stress to me, so I swear at my computer a lot. But, when it's going very slowly, I always like, "Dangit! Mooove." That's a kind of a tame swear word, I just use "dangit." The "I" sound in this, "dangiiiiit." It's longer the more frustrated I am and that one I like to use. Or, I would--with computers is what--I don't know, maybe this is just me who has a very bad relationship with her computer but when the computer is not functioning, too, if swearing at it has not improved the situation, I'll just be like, "Computer, compute."
Davey: "Computer, compute."
Alisha: Yeah, "Please do your job," in other words.
Davey: Alright.
Alisha: I'll address it, whatever this causing the problem.
Davey: Right. But, first, you try swearing at it?
Alisha: At first, I try swearing.
Davey: And then, you ask nicely?
Alisha: I would say I use the command form.
Davey: Okay, yes. As computers become more like people, you should try reversing that order.
Alisha: Sometimes I ask it politely. I say, "Why are you not computing?"
Davey: Sure. Address the issue head-on.
Alisha: Yup, yup.
Davey: Swear as the last resort.
Alisha: Indeed. But, anyway, yes. I like to use "dangit." "Dangit" as a personal favorite of mine. Classic. Okay, others?
Davey: Yes, my next one is, "Sweet Mother!" Just an old classic. If you're caught off guard or you stub your toe, something surprises you, better to say, "sweet mother" than something much worse. But, I think it gets the point.
Alisha: "Sweet mother!" Yeah.
Davey: Try it out sometime.
Alisha: That is a good one. Actually, when you said that, "sweet mother," I believe that's a standard for sweet mother of someone else or sweet mother of something but we're only using the beginning of that phrase, "sweet mother," and then we cut off the end.
Davey: If you stop there, if you see it written down, "sweet mother," it sounds so nice.
Alisha: Mm-hmm.
Davey: You know, mothers are sweet people.
Alisha: Mm-hmm.
Davey: But, "Sweet mother!" has a much more ominous tone.
Alisha: Indeed. Something terrible has just happened if you hear someone shout, "Sweet mother!"
Davey: In that way.
Alisha: Yeah. I don't think I've ever heard this shouted happily. "Sweet mother!"
Davey: That's true.
Alisha: "It's so nice to see you." We don't ever use that in a happy way.
Davey: No, no doubt.
Alisha: You used the expression of like stubbing your toe. To stub your toe is to hit your toe against an object like a desk or a table or something, it really hurts. I totally forgot about it. But, one that I use all the time, especially, like with young--maybe teenage people—actually, I don't use it now now that I think about it. One that I used to use a lot and still use from time to time is, "That sucks!"
Davey: "That sucks!" Classic.
Alisha: Yeah, it means that's too bad, that's unfortunate. You hear bad news, "Oh, that sucks." or I break a thing that I didn't want to break, "Oh, that sucks!" You can use "Suck!" "That sucks." It doesn't have anything to do with removal of air or transfer of air just, "That sucks." Make the "U" sound elongated. "That suuuucks."
Davey: "Duuuude!"
Alisha: "Duuuude!" See? If you elongate that "U" sound, you immediately sound like that turtle from "Finding Nemo."
Davey: Okay.
Alisha: Are you familiar?
Davey: I can't recall the character but I have seen the movie.
Alisha: Crush, the turtle from "Finding Nemo." That's how he talks.
Davey: Okay.
Alisha: Yeah, he's a surfer turtle.
Davey: What's his name?
Alisha: Crush.
Davey: Cruuuush.
Alisha: Indeed. See, he gets it. That's it. Alright. Good. So, we have "Sweet mother!" We have added, "That sucks."
Davey: You're next.
Alisha: I guess since we're talking about injuries, I have the expression, "That hurt!" And, you can add "like" plus some kind of other, I don't know, a bonus word if you will. So, here, "That hurt like crazy!" or, "That hurts so bad! or, "That hurt like…"
Davey: "…a monkey's uncle."
Alisha: There we go. So, it's sort of a nonsense phrase but you can just add whatever you like at the end of this, "like blah, blah, blah," or just drop this part as well. Just, "That hurt!" and then kind of, again, elongate the vowel sounds to express your pain as necessary.
Davey: Gets the point across.
Alisha: Indeed. Okay, that's mine. What else have you got?
Davey: My last one is childhood original, for me, "Bull honky!" "That's bull honky, Alisha."
Alisha: Okay.
Davey: This one has a very specific story to it. I grew up across the street from another young boy whose parents were always really hard on him about swearing. They would always mind his swearing. And, they conditioned him to say, "bull honky" whenever he wanted to swear. I thought it was pretty funny and I picked it up myself. And so, playing with him in his yard or playing basketball, you know, basketball hoop in his yard and I heard a lot of, "Man, that's bull honky." from him. So, this one is very specific. I don't know how many people would use this. But, that's maybe another point about these kinds of swear words is a lot of this kind of fake or made-up or substitute swear words I think can be really specific to a person.
Alisha: Absolutely.
Davey: Or a group of friends or something funny that they say instead of swearing.
Alisha: Yeah, we call those…
Davey: "Bull honkey"'s one of those.
Alisha: … inside jokes.
Davey: Inside jokes.
Alisha: Sometimes. If they're funny, if it's meant to be funny but just these inside phrases, I guess, or inside expressions. But, usually, we say inside jokes for that. By the way, you said, your friend's parents were really, really strict about him not swearing. Were your parents pretty strict?
Davey: Yes, definitely. But, they never gave me a substitute. So, I just had to mind my own P's and Q's or use substitutes like "heck" or "darn" or "shoot." Those were okay.
Alisha: Yeah, me too. I have a vivid memory of one time I was like 11 years old. My mom was just strolling with me on the street and she said, "What swear words do you know? Tell me." And, I couldn't, I was so afraid to tell her because it was in my head like, "You shouldn't swear. It's bad to swear." She wanted to know, "What words do you know?" I wouldn't tell her. Yeah.
Alright. I have one more that I actually still use, especially at work, because—okay, you'll see. The expression is "loud swear words." I use--I physically--I actually say this like if I'm at my desk, and again, it's at work, it's a like a quiet office, I hurt myself or something or I've made a huge mistake but I cannot express my rage at that moment, I say, "loud swear words!" like under my breath very, very quietly. Because I have to get it out somehow because if I say--I'm not actually saying loudly swear words at the top of my voice.
Davey: Right.
Alisha: But, if I say to myself like, "Ugh, loud swear words!" It feels a little bit like I'm getting it out of my body.
Davey: Sure.
Alisha: So, it's sort of-- it's just a stand-in. I'm saying actually the words I wish I could say at the volume I wish I could say them, "loud swear words."
Davey: Make sense.
Alisha: Or, just "swear words" is fine too.
Davey: Sure.
Alisha: Yep. "Swear words!" "Curse words!" Mm-hmm, good. So, yeah. Those are some ways not to swear or to swear politely, I suppose. I'm sure there are a lot more though.
Davey: A lot more. Or you can just say nothing at all. You can say nothing at all. That's something my mom used to always say to me as a kid and a lot of moms, a lot of sweet mothers say it to their children is, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."
Alisha: That is true.
Davey: Or, "silence is golden."
Alisha: That is true. Though, on the other hand, I have read that some studies though, this is true, some studies suggest that if you swear upon like injuring yourself or you swear upon like encountering a stressful situation, just the act of swearing and using an inappropriate word, actually relieve stress.
Davey: I believe that.
Alisha: So, choose accordingly. Say nothing or a little bit of a swear now and then. Everything in moderation.
Davey: I've also heard that people who never swear are less trustworthy…
Alisha: Really?
Davey: …than people who swear. I don't know if that's true. Don't believe me or trust me.
Alisha: You haven't sworn at all in this episode.
Davey: Exactly. So, if you haven't you haven't heard me swear, I don't know that you can trust me on that.
Alisha: Alright, alright. I'll injure you later and see what you say.
Davey: Alright.
Alisha: Okay. Alright. So, that's the end of this episode of English Topics. That was a fun one. So, those are a few ways that you can swear without actually swearing. If you have any others that we missed or if you want to just try out a few, oh, gosh, maybe we're just inviting disaster in the comments on this one.
Davey: I'm looking forward to the comment section.
Alisha: Yeah, leave us a comment and let us know if you have any ideas or if there are any interesting expressions that you can translate from your language into English to share, that would be interesting too. Let us know.
So, thanks very much for watching this episode of English Topics. If you like the video, please make sure to give it a thumbs up and subscribe to the channel if you haven't already. Also, check us out at EnglishClass101.com for more good stuff. Thanks very much for watching this episode and we will see you again soon. Bye-bye.


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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Did you already know all of the words introduced in this lesson?

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Tuesday at 06:11 PM
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Hello Anne and Anwar,

Thanks for taking the time to post and share. 👍

@Anwar - If you would like further assistance, I suggest upgrading to our ‘Premium Plus’ membership to get personal instructions from one of our English teachers through our ‘MyTeacher’ feature! (Link: www.englishclass101.com/myteacher)



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Tuesday at 05:10 AM
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I just swear in my native language.

Saturday at 07:56 PM
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please add description and the