Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I would say in jest to someone, "Damn you!, you always get your way."

He insisted that I was being abusive. Since my tone or tenor did not convey it, I put it down to his studying in a Catholic school.

My question is, in Christian dominated countries today, is 'damn you' offensive or can it be used in jest?

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by Rory Alsop, Janus Bahs Jacquet, tchrist, FumbleFingers, p.s.w.g Dec 22 '13 at 19:55

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Would you use it to the Pope? –  Edwin Ashworth Dec 22 '13 at 15:47
1  
I would not say a lot of things to the Pope, if that's the rule we are going by! –  Preetie Sekhon Dec 22 '13 at 16:08
1  
This is not really a useful question - any answer will be opinion based. –  Rory Alsop Dec 22 '13 at 16:52
1  
But there isn't an answer. I might say it is inoffensive. But many of the population would be offended. So it is entirely opinion based... so not useful for Stack Exchange –  Rory Alsop Dec 22 '13 at 17:08
2  
I've got an unequivocal answer! Google: offensive: causing someone to feel deeply hurt, upset, or angry. 'Damn you' had this effect on your 'someone', ergo it must be offensive. –  Edwin Ashworth Dec 22 '13 at 23:30

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I suppose I've sat through one too-many mandatory in-house session on "bullying," but I do feel the answer to OP's question lies in the relationship between the two persons involved. If OP said, "Damn you! You always get your way" to a small child who has been been taught that Christianity is the "One True View", then it was abusive. If the comment was directed toward a peer or a boss with well-known non-religious views, there is no abuse possible because the listener would not hear the comment as any kind of a real threat.

share|improve this answer
1  
As far as I'm aware, there's no modern Christian sect that believes mortals have the ability to damn people other than themselves. "Damn you" is therefore more of a declaration that the speaker wishes or expects the other party to be damned by their own actions - which may well be offensive, but it's not a threat, as such. –  user867 Dec 23 '13 at 3:48

IMO it's the individual not their religious affiliation. I know both religious and non that would go either way with your reply. For example, my wife who's Catholic and has been to nothing but Catholic institutions has the mouth of a sailor. She would not be offended by your comment.

share|improve this answer
    
I think you need more than an anecdote to explain the position here. –  Robusto Dec 22 '13 at 17:29
1  
@robusto Did I misinterpret the guidelines? <br> "But avoid … Making statements based on opinion; back them up with references or personal experience." –  docmartn Dec 22 '13 at 20:35

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.