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Use of the word heck

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CaroleB

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Not sure if this should be posted here or in writing.

What's your take on the use of the word heck.
I'm used to using in a similar way as golly, gee or gosh, but I think I'm wrong and after looking up the origin I'm sort of shocked.

So how do you interpret it? Is it one of those words that has "changed" meaning and is less offensive by common use?
Is it acceptable for a pb? I'm thinking it would be a slippery slope, but still would like your input because I wanted to use it. Now I'm backing off...so what's the consensus? Any thoughts?

Am I the only one who didn't realize it's meaning?
#1 - June 01, 2012, 04:39 AM

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I hate to tell you this, but golly, gee, and gosh are stand-ins for God and Jesus. :)  Gee whiz = Je sus.  Get it?

They are all what are called "minced oaths" and they are numerous.  I think there's probably a list somewhere if you google.  Let me look . . . here are a few:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minced_oath
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/minced-oath.html
#2 - June 01, 2012, 04:49 AM
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CaroleB

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     What the heck?
     What rock have I been living under?  Very interesting! I never took a derivatives class. I guess I knew some of them, but you're absolutely right they are numerous.

     Well, I'm using shucks in a pb already...

     So, anybody have an opinion on using heck in a pb?
#3 - June 01, 2012, 05:01 AM

What interesting lists!  I admit, I don't see what's harmful about saying "By George" instead of the other thing, because to me, you're trying to KEEP from saying the other thing, so you're substituting something much sillier.

My favorite on the UK list--"Good garden party!"

I did once read a bio of a very young Queen Elizabeth, written when she was about four or five, where it said she once said "Oh my goodness!" and was told that simply was NOT right and to not say it again.  I'm still puzzling over that (hey, it was good enough for Shirley Temple!).  Was it because "goodness" was a stand-in for the oath?  Or was it because she was supposed to say "Oh our goodness!" (ha ha, just kidding--royal we and all)?

That being said, Carole--there doesn't seem to be much call for using "heck" in a picture book, so if it bothers you, don't do it.  It's not something I would ever bat an eye at, but since each word in a PB is precious, it doesn't seem like there's a NEED for "heck" or "gosh" or "gee" or any of those . . .

Great, now I'm singing "Animal Crackers In My Soup."  "Gosh, oh, gee, but I have fun . . ."
#4 - June 01, 2012, 05:11 AM

As a parent to three young children, and a librarian, I find nothing wrong with the word "heck" in a PB. Now, "stupid" on the other hand, I find ABSOLUTELY inappropriate, and yet I find that word in PB's all the time! I say what the heck, use it!  :)
#5 - June 01, 2012, 05:13 AM
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To heck or not to heck...that is the question.  I don't have any problem with it. It doesn't really create any mind pictures.  I like it when characters use out of the box expressions such as:
My stars!
Bristling beetle toes!
or Sweet swirling onion rings (courtesy of one of my favorite movies 'Rocketman') :)
#6 - June 01, 2012, 05:24 AM

CaroleB

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Thanks, to the three of you. I know I'll always get at least two sides when I pose a question.
The MCs name is Hector and I'm thinking about playing on "heck" in place of "shucks" which is said in a shy manner.

One I found interesting was Chesse and Rice for Jesus Christ. What's that about? Hah!
#7 - June 01, 2012, 05:26 AM

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I'm on the same page as Michelle! But I'd avoid heck in a picture book -- fine for MG.

There is a ladder of swearing and pseudoswearing, and heck (and even he11) are mild these days but maybe not PB-approriate. For example, my 4-year-old was saying dagnabbit the other day, and while that's quaint for an adult, it was inappropriate to me from a child's mouth.
#8 - June 01, 2012, 05:44 AM
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What's wrong with stupid, in the right context? ie Putting shoes on your head is a bit stupid. Is that offensive? I think the issue with idiot was that it refers to what used to be a medical diagnosis (I think someone on the board told me that). But stupid? Maybe that was too... I don't know.

Dagnabbit sounds cute to me. But then I'd never associate it very directly with the word it's trying to replace.

My four-year-old says, What the flubberbuns! which I think is okay but maybe others would find it offensive because they'd think she's saying flubberbuns instead of eff ewe see kay? (She's not - she's actually saying it instead of he!! because apparently I say that phrase quite a bit, so she copies me and I've been trying to get her to say something else - flubberbuns seemed a fun word.)

What a minefield.

And is 'shucks' another way of saying ess aitch eye tee?
#9 - June 01, 2012, 11:25 AM

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I think some readers would be fine with heck and others would be offended. Maybe find another word, just to be safe?

Siski, I say "shoot" and now my kids say it too. There've been a couple times where I've looked at them and said, "WHAT did you just say?"

I should find a word that sounds a LITTLE less similar.  ::)

Rue
#10 - June 01, 2012, 12:59 PM
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I love dagnabbit....could morph into 'bag-a-rabbit'...
#11 - June 01, 2012, 01:08 PM

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I should find a word that sounds a LITTLE less similar.  ::)

Rue

My husband says shiitake mushrooms! Which really doesn't leave much to the imagination. Luckily, no one else has picked it up yet.

Also, scribblegirl has come up with a lovely bunny-based one for you!
#12 - June 01, 2012, 01:26 PM

I heard a young coworker exclaim, "Shut the f-ront door!"   :)

On the one hand, substitute swears like "heck" are fairly innocent. A lot of adults don't even know their origin. On the other hand, little kids pick up expressions sooo easily, and repeat them about a million times...

I agree that any of these substitutes are fine in MG. You could probably get away with most of them in a PB, but they may cause a few parents consternation.

What would Maurice Sendak say? I don't know, but I'll bet it would be something stronger than "heck".  http://www.good.is/post/the-key-to-maurice-sendak-s-success-with-children-his-contempt-for-adults/




#13 - June 01, 2012, 02:29 PM

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