PROFANITY AMONG BOYS [Editorial]

New York Times

The statement made in a letter to THE TIMES this morning by Mr. GEORGE WRIGHT that blasphemous and degrading language is increasing not only among the illiterate but "among those in the higher walks of life" may be doubted. Quite possibly profanity is increasing among boys.
 
Oaths and their imitations are introduced in speech for their exclamatory effect, not primarily as a sign of irreverence. They are usually meaningless, affording the voice merely the opportunity to express elemental moods of impatience, braggadocio, and the like. The use of "swear words" is essentially a sign of illiteracy; an expletive means something serving to fill out, and expletives are employed by persons who have not sufficient command of language to select fitting words to convey their thoughts and feelings. The result is ridiculous when it is not painful. A profane man does not strengthen his parts of speech, he weakens them by his profanity. Parents and school teachers would do well to make the boys understand the principle that, when suitable words, are lacking, silence is wisest.

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