Is there a good side to bad words?

Annabelle Smith

When it comes to swearing, there’s an alphabet soup of options out there- the A-word, the B-word, the S-word, the F-word and many more. And if you’ve ever walked through Liberty’s halls or spent time in a classroom, you know that many students aren’t shy about swearing. But besides the vast array of choices, why do we swear?

Obviously, stressful situations are a major cause of swearing. In many cases, swearing releases the stress in a relatively harmless way.

“When kids get extremely frustrated or when something startles them, they just need some way to get the aggression out,” sophomore Heidi Blair said.

But frequently, a stressful situation doesn’t appear to be necessary to elicit swearing. Especially on the bus or at school, swear words abound seemingly out of context and without provocation. Perhaps stress isn’t the cause for swearing, but rather, it’s the relative freedom we experience in high school.

“High schoolers swear because they can. Normally they’re just now being given that freedom or they’re not allowed to at home, so when they go to school, they really exercise that right,” Blair said.

Clearly, high school is a time for testing boundaries and maturing, and swearing accomplishes both these things.

“Teenagers swear when they’re stressed or hurt, but also when they’re trying to impress other people, or when they want to spite their parents. It makes them seem grown up,” junior Sara Hamilton said.

Perhaps it can be said that some high school students push the envelope when it comes to swearing, but not all. For Hamilton, swearing is not an option.

“In my religion, we don’t swear. Mormonism is against that entirely,” Hamilton said.

But that doesn’t really bother her.

“When people swear a lot, I just think they have a really small vocabulary, which may sound kind of harsh. But swearing just automatically ruins the conversation for me,” Hamilton said.

But for others, swearing isn’t very impactful.

“As long as you don’t have severe bad attentions, I think it’s perfectly fine. You should just be able to say whatever you want,” freshman Drew Blik said.

When it boils down to whether or not high schoolers swear too much, it would be unfair to simply say yes or no. But the fact remains that swear words are just words.

“Swear words can be used with the intention of hurting someone, but the words themselves are not bad,” senior Nicole Leung said.