What am I doing wrong?

27 Jul

Ever since I was a child, I have known that there was a grown-up way to speak and that it included liberal use of swear words.  As a child, I spake as a child and did not start using swear words — around grown-ups — until I was given permission by my parents.  Hey, I was a good kid that way.  But, since then, swearing is something I am quite comfortable doing.  Oh sure, I keep it to a minimum in certain situations — I don’t, for example, swear much around my children.  I don’t swear at all around students at school.  I know it has its limitations. But when I’m with my friends, my husband, alone . . . I swear.  I swear, I swear!

As a writer, I was taught to write with multiple voices.  My personal writing is like my own voice.  My more formal writing is just that: more formal.  That said, when I used to make my living as a technical writer at Stanford, I was never asked to please make my writing less formal — even my formal voice is relatively personal and approachable.  The Queen of Jargon, I was not and am not.

Still, I am surprised that my blogging voice is so . . . safe.  Look at these ratings:

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

blog readability test

But here,  with you kind people, here, I speak plain English with a minimum of swearing.  One of these sites mentioned that the only bad word I’d used was “poop.”   I don’t know if there is even hope for me.  I guess my English teachers who taught me to write in a formal, yet straightforward way would be pleased.  I just never thought that my personal voice was a personal voice that was speaking to little kids . . . did I steal Mr Rogers’ voice?

Oh, woe is me.


9 Responses to “What am I doing wrong?”

  1. Pam 27 July, 2008 at 3:03 am #

    I’m the same. My swear level depends upon who I am talking to. And I don’t want to take the last quiz, my blog probably is at the pre-school level. But I don’t care. Being a technical writer at one of my past jobs I just write the facts, ma’am.

  2. jayne 27 July, 2008 at 4:19 am #

    Huh, I got a PG-13 rating because I used the words “death” and “punch” as in gut punch when we found out my co-worker has cancer.

    I too have to admit to a spicey potty mouth at times, especially when I am frustrated. But, like you, I can contain it at work and in the appropriate situations.

  3. KGMom 27 July, 2008 at 5:52 am #

    Not to worry–this English teacher is proud of you.
    Being expressive (and being effective at it) does NOT require “cuss” words.
    I come out same level of rating.

  4. John 27 July, 2008 at 6:11 am #

    I didn’t know “poop” was a bad word. I guess the test doesn’t like fecal matter in any form or spelling.

  5. robin andrea 27 July, 2008 at 8:01 am #

    If I wrote the way I talk, the Dharma Bums would be x-rated. Of course, I never used that kind of language when I worked, or around children, or in situations that required a more formal conversation. I’ve never used the f-word in front of Roger’s mother, and that’s almost 20 years of conscious editing. There is something about writing and editing that refines the raw impulse.

  6. Phyllis 27 July, 2008 at 9:02 am #

    I’m at 0%, not even 0.9%, so don’t feel bad.

    And I cuss on my blog, I just bleep out some of the letters. 😉

  7. Clare 27 July, 2008 at 10:59 am #

    I rarely swear Liza. I’ve always thought of it as punctuation, not window dressing. I always find it more efficacious, more forceful that way. When people rarely hear cussing from me, it really stands out when I do cuss

  8. Wende 29 July, 2008 at 4:21 pm #

    I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong at all, Liza. (says the girl with the same ratings. hee)

  9. Susan Gets Native 30 July, 2008 at 8:33 pm #

    Ditto what Robin Andrea said: If I typed the way I talk….
    I have family members who read my blog and don’t like my sauciness. But I feel like such a hypocrite when I say “*ss” or something like that. We all know what I’m saying….
    “poop” is a bad word? Then let’s dirty up this blog, huh?
    Poop. POOP. Poopity-poop-poop!

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