Cutting down on swearing is big business. Debbie du Frene and Carol Lehman made a “Persuasive Appeal for Clean Language” in a 2002 issue of Business Communications Quarterly. They pointed out that bad language in the workplace has lead to lawsuits for harassment (including at least one man successfully suing a female colleague for her offensive language) and they claim that swearing can have consequences that include “insomnia, depression, nervousness, headaches, backaches, nausea, loss of appetite, weight change and, fatigue.” [1].

Spurred on by this apparently prevalent workplace ill, the authors call for the compulsory inclusion of an anti-profanity persuasive writing assignment in all business school courses.

Clean language? He swears by it.

If you still have a problem, you can hire James O’Connor and his “Cuss Control Academy” which uses “humour and overlooked common sense” to cure your organisation of swearing. Given that his published rates start at $1,500 for a 30 minute presentation (minus expenses) I think I’d probably find not swearing when I get his invoice to be the biggest challenge!

At some point I’ll write a post on the language of moral panics. Suffice to say, that’s pretty much the definition of a moral panic argument right there! back

DuFrene, D.D. & Lehman, C.M., 2002. Persuasive Appeal for Clean Language. Business Communication Quarterly, 65(1), pp.48–55.