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The Contender
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Is profanity necessary?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/13/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,271 times Debate No: 35574
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)




Is profanity really necessary? I mean, is there a reason to say something in a negative, mean way when you can say it with a positive connotation?
There is no reason to cuss or use inappropriate language just to express strong emotion. If someone is frustrated, there is no need to say the "F" word if they can use words like "darn" or "shoot."
Please explain to me why people choose to use such negative and inappropriate language when there are much better and positive ways to express strong feelings and emotions. Not necessarily nice ways, but better than profanity.
Only accept this debate if you can prove to me that profanity is truly necessary.

P.S. This is my first debate on this website so please don't be too harsh, mean, or rude. Thank you


I accept my opponent's proposition. I will be defending that the use of profanity is necessary for the re-evaluation of our linguistic and, ultimately, societal ideals into something much, much greater. Without further adeiu, I will begin.

I want to start out by saying that words are meaningless. What do I mean by meaningless? Well consider this. If I say the word "car". Now we all know what a car is, have seen many cars, have driven in many, may even have driven some or many. Car is a well known word to us, and it's meaning is clear.

Rewind the clock to 2000 B.C., and what would you get if you said the word car? Blank stares of confusion. There was no such thing as a car. The word "car" had yet to be invented, and thus had no meaning. I could shout at one person "You're just some dumb car!", while turning around to another and saying "Baby, you look so car tonight that it makes me wanna explode in love", and both would have the same meaning, or rather the same lack of meaning.

What does this tell us? That, without assigned meaning, words themselves have no meaning. We prescribe meaning to words.

Let's move on to my next point. Again, we will use the word car to evaluate this lesson as well. Let's start in the moden day again. If I say the word car, what do you think about? Some would think of a truck. Others a nice sports car? Others, an eco-friendly urban road warrior. The word car has multiple different meanings to it. But let's rewind the clock to the day the first automobile was invented. If I said car then, everyone would jump to the exact same model of car. If you were talking about cars, you were talking about that specific model. Over time, the word car evolved as more things known as "cars" were brought into existence.

What's the lesson here? That, over time, we can alter the prescribed meaning to words. The definition given to them initially is not permanent, and can change if pushed to change.

Now let's get to the meat of the discussion here: let's take the "N" word. Yes, the profane version of negro "N" word. It's origins in the south were that of discrimination and mindless hate. Much of that hate still lingers around in the word today, and it's a sort of taboo to even say it.

But what if it didn't mean what it did back then? What if it's meaning was different? What if, instead of calling all of my really close friends "friends" I called them my "niggas"? "Man, this guy is my main niggah. He's always got my back and he's there when I really need a good friend to be there for me, and I can always count on him." Where is the hate? Where is the violence? Where is the racial discrimination that has haunted American history for hundreds of years?

Gone. Just like that.

What about other words. Sh*t? We could change that. F*ck? Could change that one too. Any profane language that is considered to be negative or hurtful could be altereted to something positive and uplifting.

So what's the impact of something like this? We can sovle back for hundreds of years of problems, hundreds of years of conflicts and violence, hundreds of years of hate and fear, hundreds of years of torment and anguish, simply by saying that's not what this word represents anymore. With the single flip of a switch, we can transform these words of degredation into words of encouragement and support.

What would this do? Trick question. The real question is "What wouldn't this do?", to which the answer is "Anything bad."

For a brighter future, I defend that it's mandatory we use profane language in non-profane ways. It's the only way to fully erase the meaning of the hate and hardships behind those words, and the only way to move on, and to grow.

As such, I strongly support the notion that profanity is necessary.

I eagerly await a response from my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for your response.

You state that words are meaningless, but in almost all cases, words provide a powerful implication. For example, if someone calls an African American the "N" word, it hurts. Maybe it wasn't that bad a word back then, but now that it has changed to have a negative meaning, there is no reason to use it if it is going to hurt someone.

You say that we should use profane language in non-profane ways, but the way I see it, profanity is becoming nastier the more we change it. I have hardly seen anyone use profanity in a positive way. I agree that in the past these words were not considered "dirty," but it is the constant changing of the definitions that makes them inappropriate. However, if the definitions are going to make the word rude and inappropriate, then why say it?

You also say that we can easily change the meaning to something positive, but in reality, does anyone really do such a thing? People seem to only make a word worse and use it in more immoral ways.

Assume people keep using cuss words negatively like they currently do. Would it hurt to change the "S" word to "shoot?" The answer to that is: no, it would not hurt, but make a better impression. For example, if you first meet a person, and something goes wrong and you start cussing and using profanity, then they will think of you as someone who cannot control themselves. If you had used words that weren't inappropriate, they would think better of you and you would also know that you are able to control yourself.

In addition, even if profane words have a chance of changing to become more appropriate, why use it while it still has a negative meaning? I understand that the more the word is used, the more chance it has to change in a positive way, but is it worth it? There are other words with the same meaning and same implication that could be used in the exact same situations as profane words; why should we still keep using profane words in only HOPE that they will change? How do you know that people WANT to change the meaning? The thing is, you don't. You can only hope that they will, but until they do, there is no point in using profanity.

Furthermore, if profane words can be used positively, someone might not take it that way. For instance, going back to your example, what if the African American didn't understand that you meant it positively and took it the wrong way? Why not just call him or her a friend so that you don't risk anything? Instead of referring to that word, you can just say, "Dang, this guy right here is like a dog to his owner; he's always there for me and I can always rely on him."
See? Different words, same meaning, less slang, more professional.

As I have shown in my argument, I strongly believe that profanity is unnecessary due to the existence of more mature words that can be used instead of it and yet still have the same meaning.


Zaradi forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I am sad to see my opponent has not made their argument for Round 2. Nevertheless, I will continue my argument for Round 3 in hopes that my opponent will respond.

In addition to my previous arguments, I would like to add the fact that the use of profanity has had a negative influence on today's youth. Adolescents tend to spend much of their time on the Internet, listening to music, socializing, watching television, etc. Basically, anything related to the media. The more they spend their time doing these things, the more profanity they are exposed to. As they learn more profane words, they tend to use them, in which other learn these words as well.
The problem with this is that these words are used negatively. The more they spread, the more dirty language teens and children learn and use. Profanity can cause these children and teens to become more aggressive. For example, let's say that on a playground, a child accidentally falls and trips on another child. The child who was attacked has a teenage sibling who cusses frequently and the child picked up these words. When the child is hit, he/she starts using these words and becoming angry. This shows how profanity can cause children to become aggressive and be angered easily. Now the child who fell has not only been offended by these words, but he/she has been exposed to this language, and now that child uses it as well. Where does it end? The more it is used, the more it influences others, the worse it gets, which is why it is not necessary.

The influence of this language on today's youth is both disappointing and shows what they will grow up to be like. Not only does profanity spark anger, but when it spreads, it can have a very negative effect on society. I believe that it's negative influence and ability to be replaced maturely make it unnecessary. The more it is gone, the better society's language becomes.


As this is the last round, I would like to thank my opponent for this debate.


Zaradi forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by sweetbreeze 5 years ago
Flipbook, you're sad. People can debate on whatever they think is a good topic. If you think it's a bad topic, please keep it to yourself to avoid getting people offended. Anyway, if it's a bad topic, people wouldn't bother debating, but someone debated. :)
Posted by Flipbook 5 years ago
Is profanity necessary? Bad Topic, Profanity is a choice among people if you don't like it, pass over it, refuse to get mad. Should it be illegalized? No, because we have the freedom to be profane.
Posted by MikeyMike 5 years ago
I agree completely with the previous comment. Ugghh I love debating the topic of profanity, where was this debate when I was looking for interesting challenges to accept/
Posted by THElittleRISK 5 years ago
Is profanity necessary? No.
Is not using profanity necessary? No.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by GOP 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con used sources. Pro forfeited.
Vote Placed by THElittleRISK 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.