Consider the passage:

Mathematicians are pretty comfortable with treating spaces without any embedding. A surface can just exist—no need for a volume for it to hover in. It does so with all its properties attached: curvature, roughness, holes, etc. Hell, even a measly point can boast of its existence without any assist from “3Dness”.

It’s as if even the simple point were shaking its defiant fist in the face of “3Dness” and proclaiming that the the point’s existence is not subject to “approval” by “3Dness” for the point to actually exist.

However, the interjection Hell! seems out of place to me in the register needed for formal writing, so I don't wish to use it. The OED says of this interjection that its usage ranges from “informal” to “impolite”:

Expressing annoyance, anger, or surprise. Also with intensifying adjective, as bloody hell, fucking hell, etc.

The register of usage ranges from informal to impolite.

The earliest and latest citations provided for this usage in the OED are these two:

  • 1888    Frederic Thomas Elworthy · The West Somerset word-book at Oaths
    With some individuals ‘Hell! bloody hell!’ serve to eke out most sentences.
  • [...]
  • 2005    Steve Amick · The Lake, The River & The Other Lake xxxii. 131
    Hell, he’d power-rodded the guy’s main line at least a dozen times and barely charged him the standard price.

I don’t risk coming off sounding informal at best or impolite at worst, so is there an alternative way of saying what I’m trying to say here that still carries that same “mood” as my original wording without actually using the word hell? I don’t wish to be rude.

  • 1
    You could leave it out. "Even a ..."
    – Lawrence
    Jan 1, 2020 at 14:33
  • The mood comes from the informal and unexpected terminology. Preserving the mood would tend to also preserve the qualities that make your discarded term "slang".
    – Lawrence
    Jan 1, 2020 at 14:36
  • @Lawrence "As a matter of fact"...just isn't right is it
    – lineage
    Jan 1, 2020 at 14:40
  • 1
    It's an interjection. Just about any one - or none - would do :) . "As a matter of fact" works, but if you have a good proofreader, be prepared for them to delete the 'empty' phrase.
    – Lawrence
    Jan 1, 2020 at 14:44
  • 1
    Dropping it, thnx.
    – lineage
    Jan 1, 2020 at 14:45

2 Answers 2



  • a (mild) euphemism for hell


  • euphemistic alteration of hell, by 1865.

(Etymology online (linked from above))


In formal writing, do not use such informal expressions (hell, measly, boast) at all. For example:

...curvature, roughness, holes, etc. Indeed, even a point can exist without any assist from “3Dness”.

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