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    #1

    If what the (just what the) is a bad word

    Hi all,
    I was wondering this and hope you could help me.
    I know that what the H and other “what the__” expression is kind of a bad word, but I’ve heard this other form a lot lately, even in books that are for children, so I wonder if it counts as a bad word.
    What I hear is just “what the”, with no word goes after it, like the scenario where A is startled by B screaming, then A just bursts out “what the”.
    Many thanks in advance : )

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: If what the (just what the) is a bad word

    Some are and some aren't.
    "What the f***" is bad. "What the hell" offends some people. "What the dickens!" is not offensive.
    Best thing - avoid it.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: If what the (just what the) is a bad word

    You can get around it by simply saying "What the ...!" and stopping there. The listener will silently add whatever word they feel is appropriate.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: If what the (just what the) is a bad word

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Mai View Post
    so I wonder if it counts as a bad word.
    Not really; it suggests a rude word, but avoids stating it, which makes it fairly harmless and acceptable. It's like the formulations used to avoid balspheming that are generally regarded as OK as they don't include direct blasphemy, like Raymott's example with dickens. By just saying What the...!, the speaker paces the burden of swearing on the listener- if the listener adds a very rude word, it is their choice and not the speaker's.

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