A recent post reported that: “people who swear tend to be more honest and trustworthy”. I don’t know the truth of this because I have never met anyone who didn’t swear and therefore I have no basis for comparison.
Back in 1965 I was 16 years old and an apprentice with the GPO (now British Telecom or B.T.) in Liverpool and assigned to work in Liverpool with a “Heavy Gang”. I learned to crawl around in malodorous manholes, I learned to climb terrifyingly tall telephone poles and I acquired an entirely new vocabulary along with hitherto unimaginable insights into female anatomy.
I’ll never forget the time that one of my co-workers indicated that he had concluded his in-depth fault finding analysis on a suspected item of equipment and that he had confirmed that the item was indeed damaged beyond all possibility of repair. He stated:
“This fucking fucker’s fucking fucked.”
His phrasing was admirably succinct, grammatically correct, and a beautiful illustration of the richness and flexibility of the English language. My erstwhile colleague’s well turned minimalist phrase can also be pressed into service as an illustration of the fundamentals of English grammar.
The first instance of fuck is an example of an adjectival intensifier where “fucking” in its sense of “annoying”qualifies and intensifies the noun “fucker”.
The generic noun “fucker” can stand for any material object or person as in “that fucker is a stupid fuck” but in this case it stands for the malfunctioning piece of telephonic equipment and as such might even be considered as a pronoun.
The second use of “fucking” is as an adverb and as in the adjectival form it is used as an intensifier. The suspected item was not merely “fucked” it was “fucking fucked”.
The final invocation of “fuck” is as a verb in its informal sense of “to damage or to break” and is used here in the past perfect form.
So there you have it: he could have said “The piece of equipment that has been the cause of so much irritation is really broken now and is beyond all possibility of repair. Instead he said “This fucking fucker’s fucking fucked.”
And by the way, he was an honest man.