Many say that one shouldn't use "hell" as it is informal. You can use "heck" instead. Both convey the same meaning. Then why this difference? Why can't one use "hell" everywhere?

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    Heck is not a "formal" alternative to hell. Hell is first and foremost a formal religious term, being the name of the place in the afterlife where souls are eternally punished for their sins. Therefore, the casual use of "Hell" is considered by many to be profane (sacrilegious), and Heck is used in its place in order to avoid the offense. Jul 20 '12 at 7:57
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    People who don't believe in Gosh will go to heck :) Jul 20 '12 at 11:42
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    I think the point of many of the answers is that "hell" is not informal, it is offensive (to some)
    – horatio
    Jul 20 '12 at 13:59
  • We say hen in our family. Jul 20 '12 at 15:28

"Heck" is a euphemism for those who feel the word "hell" constitutes strong or inappropriate language.

  • I have heard it said that 'heck' derives from 'Hecate', Greek goddess of witchcraft.
    – Alan B
    Jul 20 '12 at 15:26

Although I believe heck is more slangy than hell, it might be considered as an euphemism for hell or, most likely, a fusion of hell and f***.

Whether it's what the hell or what the heck, neither of them should be used in a formal or respectful conversation.


Expletives like "Heck!" are minced oaths for "Hell!" according to our Sunday School teacher back in the days when such things mattered.

  • Ouch! What one generation tolerates, the next one oks and the 3rd one does. Jul 20 '12 at 12:52
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    @ArlenBeiler ...the fourth thinks it is uncool...and the fifth does it ironically.
    – Mitch
    Jul 20 '12 at 13:27

As far as i am concerned ,the use of both words differentiate from one contexte to an other, taking into account the moods,and references of the use of the two words.

the four letters words connotate both of them with the dis-appreciated place , which said to be made to receive the sin makers during the life's time ,"according to the religious explanation".

the word "heck" is also found in the description of the holy QURAN of the opposite of paradise,jahannam heq:the translated word of "hell" in Arabic is also a four letter word "jhnm". hell is true, the adjectif cualifying the existence of such place, it is true. i think that the word "heck"is looking to be a fashion of "hell" but in fact ,it is etymologically older than the word"hell" for it is used since the creation of the language , /HAQ/,:/haqiqa/:trueth.

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