28 February 2016

English Language

I don’t read as much as I used to. By that I mean long sessions of reading, but in the last couple of years I have read several novels on an on-off basis because duty called elsewhere. There was always a book waiting to be picked up, though. My taste of subjects and plots varies so long as the author writes well and convincingly. Anything remotely conflicting with the English language gets tossed aside and given to charity. Charities get all my books but the conflicts get there first simply because I don’t wish to read further.

In recent months I read some good novels but one really stands ... not because of its brilliance, although the author does know how to write. The author is well known for writing criminal based fiction; in fact I can’t remember her ever changing the style so that she wrote about decent law-abiding folk. I could be wrong though. Many years ago I vowed never to read one of her books again ... this year I thought I’d give her another go. My mistake!

It can be interesting to learn how other people live and I admire anyone who can put a story together no matter what the background, but what annoyed me throughout the book was the over-use of the F word. I say ‘over-use’ ... what I should have said was ‘liberally peppered on all pages’. Admittedly there are folk in the world who frequently use the F and C words who would not take offence at seeing them in print, but it makes me wonder what is happening to the English language. Yes, I finished the book because of a need to know the ending ...  but was it worth it? I’m afraid not.

Is it laziness that makes people use such words? Or perhaps it’s because they don’t know what a lovely language we have? I admit to using the F word once in one of my books, but it was to demonstrate anger and seemed right in the circumstance written about. Overuse can be less effective, leading to people not bothering to talk properly. God help the children born in such a world.

The book I refer to is called ‘The Good Life’ and the author is Martina Cole who, according to a write-up in the front of the book, is the acknowledged queen of crime drama. Maybe, but perhaps she should realise that people can take offence at the excessive use of bad language. Another critic wrote that this book was ‘A blinding good read’ ... good description, with emphasis on the ‘blind’.


  1. Oh dear Valerie, you are not going to want to read the sequel to my book I am writing at the moment. The swearing in the first chapter shocked even me and I wrote it! Mind you it is set in a prison cell with two other inmates. I tried it without the swear words and it didn't ring true at all. Perhaps all books should have warnings on them if they contain bad language?

  2. "Overuse can be less effective, leading to people not bothering to talk properly."

    Valerie, I TOTALLY agree with you! I think the more someone uses the F-word, the less effective it really is because one becomes almost immune to it. Now, that's not to say I don't swear or use the word because I do. However, I don't think I over use it. Like you, I tend to use it only when I'm really angry.

    It's the same way I feel about stand-up comedians who constantly curse in their routines. I just can't listen to them.

    GREAT post topic, my friend! Have a lovely Sunday!

  3. I cannot be bothered with ANY book that has liberal sprinklings of crude language like the F and C words, it just annoys me. I actually read a MARKETING book recently, where the author used the F word a couple of times in the first chapter. I wrote him a review at Amazon that should get his attention, about that one!!! ;-)

    I'm no prude but I hear enough crude language along the streets, passing people with limited brains and vocabulary, who use these types of words as their regular choices. I don't need to read them in books too. My kindle is always crammed with books waiting to be read. If I don't like one, it's delete time and on to the next. One of the beautiful things I love about ereaders!!

    Great topic though Val, and you've expressed your views well. Have a good week and hugs, G

  4. PS: I was curious which jacket you were referring to, in your comment re: Joe Fresh clothing. I had featured two. If you get a chance, stop by and let me know OK! ;-)

  5. Geraldine, it would upset me to delete a book after purchasing, that's why I stopped using e-readers.

  6. The book you describe is not one I would enjoy reading. I don't consider myself a prude either, I just don't use that kind of language so why would I want to read it? There are a lot of lovely words in the English language, I would rather read those.

  7. Hi Val. I'm back from a long absence - long story. Glad you're still out there. Hope you're still following! LOL

  8. I am certainly guilty of using a little too much profanity. I blame it on my Navy and fraternity days, but I also know I am perfectly capable of doing a better job of not using the F word as much. Just let me know when I'm getting carried away on my blog because sometimes I need someone to let me know that I'm being an animal. Take care Val, and I hope you find a better selection for your next reading.

  9. I do like Martina Cole but agree with you the language is choice, however, as the tales are mostly set in the gangster East End era I guess it is necessary, in a way, to describe how it was. Have you read any John Sandford (Prey Series) or Thomas Perry, I think you may like them, mainly Detective thrillers. Do you read actual books or Kindle?

  10. Hi Pearl. Thanks for the recommendations. I will look out for those authors.
    As for the 'language' problem (for me) I have read lots of books based on gangsters and their families but somehow the authors managed to portray a true picture with far less profanities. Still, I shall adhere to my old determination not to read Cole's books.

  11. As a non-native speaker I couldn't agree more with you. I have gone from being reticent about criticising someone for their use (and "overuse"0 of the "F" word to not caring one bit and laying into them. I used to hesitate because of coming to English from an outsider's perspective. But, with the passing of time and the acquisition of a wider and far-reaching vocabulary I have lost that initial fear and have become a defender of your language. I think it is laziness that leads people (writers even!) to use both the F and C words. I admit that I find their use justified in some contexts and that the way we interpret those contexts is subjective first and foremost but... in between the invasion of the ubiquitous "like" and "so" and foul language the English lexicon has been reduced to a shadow of what it used to be.

    Rant over. Thanks for your post. It was most enjoyable.

    Greetings from London.

  12. Cuban, it was a pleasure to read your 'rant' and satisfying to know that other folk feel the disgust that I feel.


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