The conversations of life

People who swear like sailors are smarter (and make the best friends), says science


Two US academics have published a new study, The Pragmatics of Swearing, suggesting that people who curse often are more likely to be better friends than those who don’t.

Seems like a bizarre connection – but it actually makes sense.

The researchers found that people who swear a lot are more likely to be honest and genuine with those around them, because they’re more comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings.

And it’s not just friendships that swearers are more honest in.

The study noted that supposed criminals who swore during interrogation were more likely to be innocent. Their guilty counterparts would often avoid swearing and try to remain calm to mask their guilt, while the swearers were more openly angry about being wrongly accused of a crime.

Regular swearers were also found to be more intelligent – often possessing a wider vocabulary and better “linguistic knowledge” (despite stereotypes suggesting the opposite!) than non-swearers.

We’re as shocked as you are.

With a background in nursing, Annie has spent over 20 years working in the health industry, including the coordination of medical support for international TV productions and major stadium events, plus education campaigns with a number of national health organisations. In recent years, she has also taken time out of the workforce to be a full-time carer, giving her first-hand experience of the challenges and rewards of this role.

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