English Language Blog

Talking Shit in English Posted by on Aug 25, 2015 in English Language

Image by Duncan Hull on Flickr.com.

Image by Duncan Hull on Flickr.com.

‘Shit’ is not a polite word in English, but it is a common word none-the-less and therefore worthy of a little attention here on the blog today. Shit is considered a swear word or a bad word in English, and so it is best not to use it around people you don’t know well. Shit isn’t a word you should use at work or school; it is a word you can use around friends as long as your friend are okay with that. You are very likely to hear this word if you watch English TV, movies, or listen to English music. So, what does it mean? Shit is another word for poop. It is a word for human excrement or feces. It is because of this meaning that this word is not considered a nice word, so just be careful how and where you use it.

In this post I am going explain some commonplace expressions or phrases in English in which this word is used. Because this swear word is so commonplace in English slag, knowing these uses may be helpful to you, especially in understanding native English speakers.

“Talking shit” in English:

Shit! – an emphatic expression of anger or annoyance
Example: Shit! I can’t believe you just did that.

shitty (adj.) – 1) something that is of poor quality; 2) feeling sick or miserable; 3) incompetent or not good
Examples: This is a shitty little radio that never works.
I feel shitty about how we treated that new guy.
We had the shittiest taxi driver on the way over here. He got lost three times.

shit-faced (adj.) – drunk
Example: My brother and his friend all got shit-faced last night at the bar.

shithole (noun) – a very dirty, shabby, or otherwise unpleasant place
Example: We have to move out of this shithole apartment ASAP.

I don’t give a shit = I don’t care
Example: I don’t give a shit where we go to eat, let’s just go. I am starving.

to scare the shit out of someone – to really scare someone
Example: Instead of happily surprising James we scared the shit out of him when we jumped out and yelled “surprise” at his party.

to be full of shit – to be untruthful, not credible, or ridiculous
Example: Sasha is full of shit; you can’t believe a thing she says.

to know (one’s) shit – to be very knowledgeable about something
Example: Jesse really knows his shit when it comes to car repair.

to talk shit – to talk in an insulting manner
Example: The boys were talking shit and that escalated into a fight.

bullshit (or BS) – an obvious lie
Example: That is complete bullshit you are just making things up.

I have one last important note to make on the word ‘shit’ and that is about pronunciation. Often ESL speakers mispronounce this word.  I don’t want that to happen to you. So, here is what you need to know. The trick in pronunciation here is that the vowel ‘i’ in this word has a short vowel sound. If you know how to say the word ‘it’ all you have to do is add the sounds ‘sh’ in front of ‘it’ to make the word shit. The word ‘shit’ rhymes with the word ‘sit.’ Many people mistakenly use a long vowel sound when pronouncing this word, saying this word like ‘sh-eat’ instead of ‘sh-it.’ So, just remember, keep it short and be careful where and when you use this word and these expressions as some people may find them offensive.

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.