When writing highly-opinionated pieces and essays, it’s often very tempting to use harsh language to make your point. After all, people do have a tendency to pay special attention when obscenities, followed by multiple exclamation points, are involved. While probably effective, they run the risk of leaving your copy unprofessional-looking – perhaps, a little too unfit for mass consumption.
They say the best writers can express the same points and make the same impact without using harsh language. While that may be true, neither me nor you (for the most part) probably belong in that upper echelon (yet). Using strong and impactful (albeit, somewhat offensive) language is simply too powerful a technique not to resort to when creating the effect is necessary.
If you’d like to use obscene words and statements in your copy but would like to tone it down, there are several avenues available short of stating it bluntly.
Quote other people expressing the exact same sentiments. If you want to condemn a particular politician’s actions in a harsh manner, you can try digging up a quote from someone who felt the same way. Whether it’s from an editorial in a blog or a reader’s letter to the editor, you can easily use the leeway they enjoy for expressing obscenity to your advantage.
Use obscene language once in the text and never again. Using obscene language once in a way that stands out is usually acceptable, provided it fits into the entire context of the piece. You can make sure its impact is felt by using it as the lead sentence or even stand it alone as its own paragraph.
Code it. A more common approach is to code obscene language, all while sprinkling it liberally. By code, we mean statements like “F- y-“, “@#**!” and “a****le”. Your readers should get what you’re saying, without outright stating it. Of course, this will trigger lots of flags in your grammar software so don’t go screaming murder if you suddenly get lots of error messages.