Cuss words in Literature… are they acceptable or not?

I recently read an article about this, which inspired me to tackle the issue myself… Now, what exactly is the issue here? People ask me this because they are so desensitised to profanity that they simply accept it as a part of everyday reading.

I beg to differ. In moderation, I can accept it. But repetition of cuss words and unnecessary profanity demonstrates (to me at least) a shallow vocabulary. Whenever I stumble across a cuss word, nestled amidst an otherwise endearing passage, I wince a little. I wince at how out of place it looks and I feel disappointed in myself for thinking this author was different to the others, when he’s really a cusser just like the rest of them.

In saying all this, I do believe there are times when it is appropriate. If it adds comedic value to the story, or a character is extremely passionate about his/her cause, I can accept it. But any writer should carefully consider the use of these words in their pieces because it is such an unnecessary risk. There will always be a minority (like me) who will never forgive them for it.

In closing, if you want to write well, don’t cuss. 

If you aren’t too concerned with what people think, and write to please yourself, cuss however bloody much you feel like it.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think…



6 thoughts on “Cuss words in Literature… are they acceptable or not?

  1. Totally agree. It all depends on how appropriate the language is to the character’s personality. If it has no value and cussing is just there to make someone “look” cool and violent, I’d probably wince a lot too.

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I swear pretty freely in person, but I’m aware that swearing is louder in writing and I’m more sparing with it on the page. But it’s a powerful part of our language. I can’t rule it out of my writing.


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