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The actual word "swearing" is considered to be inappropriate in IELTS's acadamic writing.

Then, what is the most suitable synonym for "swearing" in academic writing?

I'm now taking an IELTS course. I wrote "swearing" in my writing task; my teacher said it was inappropriate language. Therefore, I have to look for a another word!

closed as unclear what you're asking by Drew, user66974, Edwin Ashworth, ermanen, ScotM Jun 29 '15 at 0:19

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    "Swearing" is the use of abusive words, terms, expressions, or language. It's purely a verbal expression, but applicable to chat. In "academic writing", you express your displeasure or disagreement in writing in many ways, which still could 'sound' offensive. Using a lewd or obscene language is 'swearing'. "Throwing obscenities" is another. I cannot think of a one-word expression now. – Sankarane Jun 28 '15 at 14:13
  • I can understand that one who actually uses swear words in an IELTS test or course might be scolded for using socially inappropriate language, but the use of the actual term swearing to refer to such language seems quite innocent of any such charge. Consider the possibility that you were being faulted for using semantically inappropriate language, like calling a dog's tail a "leg"--if for instance you were referring to sarcastic insults that were actually free from swear words, but you accused the rude speaker of "swearing" nonetheless. – Brian Donovan Jun 28 '15 at 15:12
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    A synonym for to swear is to curse. – rogermue Jun 28 '15 at 15:40
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    Swearing could be considered one type of inappropriate language. Are you sure there isn't some confusion and the teacher was suggesting you actually write "inappropriate language", which casts the net a bit more broadly to include other kinds of potentially offensive language? – Spehro Pefhany Jun 28 '15 at 17:33
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    @Spehro Pefhany That could be one of the spots of the century. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 28 '15 at 22:28
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Using offensive/profane language?

Profane: (Of language) blasphemous or obscene.

You could also use the noun profanity

  1. Blasphemous or obscene language

1.1 [COUNT NOUN] A swear word; an oath


EDIT: An expletive could work too.

  1. An oath or swear word:

  2. A word or phrase used to fill out a sentence or a line of verse without adding to the sense.

As in:

He was uttering profanities/expletives.

Since an expletive has an additional sense of being semantically redundant, I think it's your best choice in a formal context.

  • I'm now taking an IELTS course. I wrote "swearing" in my wringting task 2, my teacher said it was an appropriate language. Therefore, I have to look for a another word! – Lê Tấn Khang Jun 28 '15 at 14:10
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    @LêTấnKhang: Please edit your question to include this. According to site policy, word requests should include information on how the requested word would be used. – Tushar Raj Jun 28 '15 at 14:14
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    @Lê Tấn Khang: Your teacher is exceptionally fussy - to the point where I would say you've been given bad advice. Whilst it's true that profanity is slightly more "formal" than swearing, it's also somewhat starchy/dated, and strongly implies blasphemy rather than scatology/sexuality/etc.. If a teacher today felt it necessary to write to the parents of a pupil who repeatedly and disruptively used bad language in school, they'd actually be more likely to say We do not tolerate swearing/bad language in the classroom. Using profanity there sounds somewhat Victorian to me. – FumbleFingers Jun 28 '15 at 15:08
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"to swear" is a regular verb.

While swearing itself would be considered highly inappropriate in many situations and places, the use of the word may not be, I'd think. In academic writing, you may not swear, of course. But the use of the term shouldn't have any negative consequences. "Use of abusive terms or obscenities" might be an alternative to the term swearing.

A public warning or notice (say, on the school premises) such as: "All swearing will be reported." is not inappropriate.

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