Offensive terms: F-words

October 15, 2009: Issue 310

The f-word got plenty of press after an actress blurted it out on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. But for our Web sites and publications, the word she was supposed to say wouldn’t have been much better.

We don’t use the f-word, and we don’t use its close cousins fricking, frigging, freaking, or flipping—not even in quotes. They’re all sound-alike stand-ins for the big vulgarity, and they have the potential to offend.

We’ll close with this exchange from a recent work session:
Garden editor—Did you know the f-word can be any part of speech?
Copy editor—It can’t be an article or a preposition.
Garden designer—Oh, you can get prepositioned with it!

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