I’m confused regarding these expressions:

Shut up

Shut your mouth

Shut your mouth up

Shut up your mouth

After some research, I’ve come to believe they are all correct except “Shut up your mouth”. Am I right? Even if not correct, is “Shut up your mouth” still commonly used? Are all four expressions common to some extent?

I know they are all rude, but are they equally rude or they could be ranked by level of rudeness?

  • I don't know, but if "shut up your mouth" is incorrect, then I'm sure "shut your mouth up" is too. – Mr Lister Jan 3 '13 at 8:24
  • It may seem strange, but IMO telling someone to Shut Up is actually worse then telling them to F**k off. Mainly because the latter is so commonly heard it has lost all meaning, while the former is rarely used and so therefore sounds really harsh. I can understand the curiosity of wanting to know which one is correct, but please do us a favour and never utter these words. – Eric Brotto Jan 3 '13 at 13:37

The first two are used and are normally rude, and the third might be heard occasionally. The fourth is unlikely, but there was once a popular song in the UK called ‘Shaddap You Face’.

  • Answers and comments to my question have been helpful and I think I've been able to grasp the nuances of these expressions that I don't plan to use after all. Once in my life I told someone "Shut up your mouth" (the person in question deserved to be treated that harsh) and it had – Albertus Jan 3 '13 at 16:08
  • @Albertus and it had...? – lesderid Jan 23 '15 at 10:35

Harry Belafonte sang a song back in the 1950s: Mama Look A Boo-Boo:

I wonder why nobody don't like me
Or is it the fact that I'm ugly?
I wonder why nobody don't like me
Or is it the fact that I'm ugly?

I leave my whole house and home
My children don't want me no more
Bad talk inside de house dey bring
And when I talk they start to sing:

Mama, look a boo-boo they shout
Their mother tell them shut up your mout'
That is your daddy, oh, no
My daddy can't be ugly so

Shut your mout', Go away
Mama, look at boo-boo dey
Shut your mout', Go away
Mama, look at boo-boo dey

They're all rather familiar and rude expressions. They're all correct (whatever that might mean -- to me it means that people say them, not that I think they're necessarily good or bad) and used. I would rank them all below the threshold of civility. You can probably say something like "And if you want to stay out of trouble, keep your mouth shut unless someone specifically asks for your opinion" without being rude, just frank.

  • 4
    I agree; they all sound uncivil. However, I'd like to mention that the first two seem more natural and common to me, while the last two sound redundant. If the aim was to "sound fluent" (whatever that might mean), I'd avoid the last two; FWIW, the Ngram wouldn't seem to refute that. – J.R. Jan 3 '13 at 9:14
  • 2
    "Shut up your mouth" is Jamaican English, so it's not gonna sound natural to an AmE speaker. "Shut your mouth up" is verbose and redundant, but it's mentioned in Wikipedia, for what it's worth. – user21497 Jan 3 '13 at 9:25

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