Bad words

“Wog. Spastic. Queer. Nigger. Dwarf. Cripple. Fatty. Gimp. Paki. Mick. Mong. Poof. Coon. Gyppo.”

These are all terrible words. But Jeremy Clarkson wants to know why people are allowed to say the word “beverage”.

Another gem:

I’m not a grammar freak — I can eat, shoot and then take it or leave it — but when someone says “myself” instead of “me” I find it more offensive than if they’d said “spastic wog”.

My least favourite American word: “period” instead of “full-stop”. I hate it. Peri…. I mean, I just hate it.



  1. Tough choice, but what about “literally”? Because <>that<> is certainly an oft ill-used word!! In sports, particularly, you’ll hear things like “in the 4th quarter, he literally carried the team.” Really? <>Literally<>? He carried them? Yeah, that <>would<> be impressive! Indeed, there are a lot of sports cliches and over-used phrases that should be avoided– things like “flat-out” or “arguably the greatest X ever” and so on. They should be thrown out and never used again. Period! 😉


  2. Something that <>must<> also be addressed, in the spirit of the Times article, is the mistaken avoidance of the objective “me.” This happens, in America and England alike, as a result of an attempt to sound posh. When one needs to use a first-person pronoun as the object of a sentence, one <>must<> say “me,” not “I.” I insist on this. It is true that you should not use “me” as the subject of a sentence, which is what your grade-school teachers were trying to emphasize when they drilled saying “John and I” into your head. Wrong: He chose John and I for the project.Don’t argue with me–this is just simply wrong. I don’t care if it sounds right to you after you have consistently misused “me” to sound posh for the last thirty years.Right: He chose John and me for the project.I have a lot more where that came from.For example, <>anytime<> you need to use a first-person pronoun as the object of a pronoun, you must use “me” and not “I.”Wrong: He bought a car for John and I.Right: He bought a car for John and me.I know you think saying it the first way makes you sound posh and the second way would make your gradeschool teacher mad. After all, didn’t your grade-school teacher drill you and drill you not to say “John and me” but rather to say “John and I”? Think really hard, though–<>how<> were those pronouns being used in the sentence your gradeschool teacher was referring to? As the subject of the sentence, you must say “John and I went to school.” But never use “I” as the object of a pronoun (e.g. for, to, over, under, etc.)(But please do not over-compensate by saying “John and me love to go to school.” In this case, as the subject of a sentence, you cannot use “me.”)[“you” is used throughout for the effect of the passive voice and does not refer to Ronan. I don’t know if Ronan misuses his personal pronouns in this way, I can’t remember, but with his Oxford education, I certainly hope not.]


  3. John,Have a simple rule in pronoun use: don’t sound posher than you really are. Oh, and I also check to see how I would say it in German (ich vs. mich).


  4. Right, John. My trick is to take out the part before the I/me and see how it sounds.That belongs to (John and) I? No.That belongs to (John and) me? Yes. (Fred and) I ate pizza? Good.(Fred and) me are pizza? Bad.


  5. I remember learning the hard way when to use I / me. I was mocked an uncle who teaches English to African children.As to the racial slang for minority and often majority groups, I don’t mind using or hearing such terms as long as it is not to those who may become offended. Ronan argued that most Australian’s are plain racists, I countered that we are just freer in our expression not having the same experience as Americans and therefore not scared to express ourselves. That night we sat comparing ‘coloured'(no pun intended) slang expressions used throughout commonwealth countries. Very Funny.


  6. Ronan,My kids are attending a British school here in the UAE, and it drives me crazy (well, not really) that they use “full stop” instead of “period.” My kids now try to correct ME when I say “period.” I think “full stop” is ridiculous! 🙂


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