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Swearing Is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language
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Swearing Is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,311 ratings  ·  204 reviews
In a sparkling debut in the entertaining pop science vein of Mary Roach, scientist Emma Byrne examines the latest research to show how swearing can be good for you. She reveals how swearing has been around since the earliest humans began to communicate, and has been shown to reduce physical pain, to lower anxiety, to prevent physical violence, to help trauma victims ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by W. W. Norton Company (first published November 17th 2017)
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Jesica DeHart
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hell yeah! Finally some fucking proof to what my gut has been declaring for years. There is something exuberantly cathartic and empowering about releasing tension, frustration and any emotion with a string of some salty expletives! Thank you for making it official.
As someone who loves the f-word, I was instantly intrigued by this book.

I enjoyed getting various bits of the history of swearing and seeing different scientific experiments and team building activities. I especially enjoyed the chapter on ladies who swear.

There were a few sections that did get a little dry, but there was a lot of humor and the science wasnt too overly science-y.

Overall, it was an interesting topic and learning a few new words was an added bonus.

**Huge thanks to WW Norton
☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆
I picked up this book because I honestly talk like a sailor. I say fuck too much and its like a second language to me. I was raised in The South and we are taught ladies should not use foul language. Well I say, Fuck that shit! I loved this book because it had history and proof that swearing is good for you. I read this non fiction book in a few sittings and it was fun. To cut to the chase, this book was the shit! ...more
Manuel Antão
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

"Fowl" Language: "Swearing Is Good For You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language" by Emma Byrne

Clucking hell. I cannot stand fowl language!

When I finished the book, I was tempted to swearily start off to make a point but then I thought, fuck that shite for a load of old bollocks. There is no rule against profanities. There is however a request to "Please respect other peoples views and beliefs". I find this most peculiar. I am quite
So firstly, this was fun and liked it and I admire its enthusiasm. Any book that tries to break down the taboo veil surrounding swearing is good in my book. I do not understand the fixation that some people have about swearing, and I probably never will. But this book does a really good job laying out a general overview of, as the title tells you, why swearing is good for you.

This is actually why I'm only giving it three and a half stars, because as always seems to be the case with these pop
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is both screamingly funny in parts, a social science observation in parts, and compares swear words in other languages besides English. I found the chapter on Tourette's the most interesting, even if the author says it shouldn't be in the book.

I've always had a really liberal vocabulary, except I will not say words that are hurtful, racist, or sexist. For 30 years I taught magazine writing at the university level, and I could never stop saying "the f-ing table of contents is buried
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reviewed for the Bibliophibian.

Yes, really, and this really is a serious book, referring to studies and discussing them in a sober and mostly non-profane fashion. At times the casual swearing seemed a little much (a bit of a gimmick, rather than me feeling bad about swearing at all), but theres a lot of fascinating stuff in here. Theres a chapter on Tourettes, for example: although Byrne explains that it doesnt really belong in a book about swearing being good for you, because in the case of
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received access to this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If you are looking for exciting new swears to use, this is not the book for you - especially since researchers are apparently hesitant to use the *actual* swear words patients employ when writing studies, something that is slowly turning around (thank goodness).

If you are interested in how swearing helps you to withstand or alleviate pain, strengthens bonds between colleagues and teammates, or how it disparately
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I hate it when I start a book that I'm looking forward too only to run into intellectually questionable assertions with no explanation of what the author means. She really ought to stick to robot science rather than delve into generalisations about culture, history, neurology, etc. I put the book down after the section entitled "The Case of the Disappearing Cock and Ass: Notes on Transatlantic Swearing." In this section she asserts that North Americans have trouble understanding UK swearing ...more
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Surprisingly, I found Swearing is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language by Emma Byrne to be a bit of a slog. The subject matter is near and dear to my heart and the introduction is funny and promised a good read but this skinny book (201 pages minus the notes and bibliography) took forever to get through. Its not as funny nor as interesting as I thought it would be.

Byrnes book sets out to disprove all the shit that profanity-users like myself hear about profanity: only people with
Michele Long
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you are going to "read" this book, I highly recommend the audiobook. I typically don't listen to audiobooks, except for the occasional 5+ hour car ride. Well let me just say, audiobook is the way to go with this one! The first half of the book was not only interesting, but was so much fun (probably more fun than I should admit) listening to a woman spewing cuss words in a British accent like it was nothing. She even eases smoothly back and forth from different languages. That alone was worth ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the most hilarious book chock-full of f*cking awesome stories about swearing and human nature. Spontaneous swearing with chimps to a scary as h*ll brain injury this was a wild ride that I didn't want to put down.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Thank you to Netgalley and W. W. Norton & Company for an E-ARC of this novel.
I must say I didn't give this book much credit before I read it because 1) new author (always skeptical) and 2) the title seemed a little hard to believe. Emma Byrne does an excellent job on making a case for the science behind bad language. The history of swearing and how is benefits our health is quite incredible. Byrne states in her novel that "swearing has helped to develop the field of neurosciences through
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wellness, science
Swearing is Good for You surpasses simple humor or personal validation. Emma Byrne has included chapters on; neuroscience, pain perception, Tourettes syndrome, workplace swearing, other primates that swear, gender differences and swearing in other languages. I found her book thorough and well-written. My favorite part of the book is her explanation of British cursing. I will now have a much greater appreciation for BBC television programs! ...more
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this - it's a nice mix funny anecdotes and clear examples of recent research about swearing, from neuroscience, workplace studies, gender studies and so on. I loved the explanations of why we swear (such as avoiding violence, team-bonding) that go beyond just describing how people swear.
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Excellent book on the power and utility of swearing. I gave swearing up for awhile when I thought "go away" and "nonsense" were as good as F-off and BS, but there is power in the swears.
Emma Gerts
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a delightful and interesting read, as I had hoped. Byrne's fluent, friendly tone is easy to read without feeling patronising or less rigorously scientific for it. She's clearly passionate about the social and neurological implications of swearing, and this runs the gamut from swearing as relief for physical and mental pain, as a social lubricant and tool of bonding, to the social and cultural differences between swearing in different languages and cultures and what it says about us. Her ...more
S C Worrall
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a really funny, and clever, book. I recently had the pleasure to interview the author, Emma Byrne, for National Geographic's weekly column, Book Talk. And as Emma shows in her book, Swearing Is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language, far from being simply lazy language or an abusive lapse in civility, new research reveals that profanity has many positive virtues, from promoting trust and teamwork in the office to increasing our tolerance to pain.
Fuck shit piss...
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Guard your delicate sensibilities and prepare to expand your vocabulary! Full of foul language and subtle British humor, this book takes an in depth look at swearing with studies I had no idea did or should ever exist. A little dry in the middle, but still amazing.
Feb 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This book discusses and explores the history of swearing and topics like how swearing can diminish pain experienced, can bond people together or strengthen existing relationships, how it is learned/developed alongside language acquisition, and the traditional social gender roles of swearing (men = power/women = impure) and how they are beginning to change. Mostly, it validated my (occasional to moderate) swearing.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Funny to read, interesting, very well researched and yet easy to follow. Can't wait to read more from Emma.
Reem Mohsen
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was interested in the research and the title was of interest. The book is slow and hard to get through but interesting. Not a book for people not used to non-fiction.
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Swearing is Good for You is a book on the many largely unknown and underappreciated aspects of swearing and it's adjacent fields of study. The chapters are mostly standalones tied together by the overall theme of the book, and I especially liked the chapters swearing and pain (chapter 2), primate studies and how chimpanzees invented swearing in sign (chapter 5), and the cross cultural study of swearing as a expression of emotion (chapter 7) because the information was compeltely new to me. Not ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Did not finish. I just got bored and switched to something else and never wanted to go back. It's unfair to Mary Roach to call Emma Byrne another Mary Roach.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bloody hilarious and fucking fascinating.
Heather Caliri
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating book--chock full of surprising research that uses swearing (a convenient inroads into our psyche and emotions) to reveal the inner workings of our brains. I appreciated the demystifying of what swearing is, and how it relates to gender, camraderie, and mental function. Still, I found myself unconvinced of Byrne's primary thesis, summed up in her title. I wished she'd explored some of the darker sides of foul language, like how its blunt edges are used by abusive people. I ...more
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This brief little book wasnt just a list of creative ways to swearwhich I would have enjoyedbut instead was a fascinating collection of social psychology and neuroscience research about how swearing affects us. Turns out, pretty profoundly (not surprised). And it IS good for you....unless youre a woman and youre being judged by your swearing. But the author, a woman in a mans field, says to lean into it. Make it less taboo. But not so commonplace that it loses its impact.

Oh, it also had some
Chuy Ruiz
Interesting tidbits of information here and there. I was honestly kind of surprised to find that a good chunk of this small book felt like a case for defending what is almost a hostile work environment. A defense of people "taking the piss" out of each other at work using a case where a highly productive group of coworkers who constantly berate each other as an example. As a socially awkward person, it sounded like a nightmare trying to navigate what is okay and what is too far, and what isn't, ...more
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“We should keep at it. Swearing is a powerful instrument, socially and emotionally. If women and men want to communicate as equals, we need to be equals in the ways in which we are allowed to express ourselves. Sod social censure. Let us allow men to cry and women to swear: we need both means of expression.” 1 likes
“The most common explanation boils down to the same double standard that makes “slut” an insult and “stud” a compliment.” 0 likes
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