What The F**k?
I tend to swear mostly around my husband and best friends, because that is what we’ve always done. When I write, I swear very seldom, unless it will add something to dialogue that will develop a character. I don’t swear at work (usually), and my husband and I are really careful not to swear in front of our seven year-old. He’s ex-Navy, so sometimes that’s kind of hard for him. Last night he and I were waiting to hear David Sedaris, and I told him about a little experiment I’ve been running for some time. I maintain that the word fuck can be used as every part of speech. Give it a try. It’s a fun game. We also discovered that breaking down sentences with the word fuck in them can be incredibly difficult. We were remembering the seventh grade, when we used to be good at diagramming sentences. We don’t really remember how to do that anymore, but we were realizing that diagramming sentences with derivatives of the word fuck in them can be really difficult. Consider the following:
What the fuck are you doing?
What part of speech is fuck in this sentence? How would you diagram it? What about this:
What are you fucking doing?
Now what part of speech is fucking? I think this might be an adverb.
What the fuck?
Again, what part of speech is that?
I think we agree that is this case, fuck is a verb. Plus imperative form.
You are so totally fucked.
I think this is an adjective.
He gave his employees a good fucking.
I believe this is a gerund.
She is fucking up.
The fucking house is on fire.
Definitely an adjective.
Are you fucking lying to him?
Maybe an adverb?
Are you going to fuck him over?
Leave me the fuck alone.
This one just stymies me.
So you see what a fun game this can be. We were on Dictionary.com last night several times and my husband posted sample sentences on Twitter. We got varying answers, some correct, and some we were pretty sure were not correct.
Want to play the game? Feel free to analyse any of the sentences above (or diagram them, if you can figure out how). Feel free to contribute your own sentences to illustrate various parts of speech. I would love to hear from you! Everyone can play (if not horribly offended, of course).