One-Point English Lesson: Taboo Words – Hell

Michael Uncategorized 3 Comments

There is a lot of slang and many idioms using “hell”

According to many religions, Hell (n) is the underworld, the place the devil lives, and a place of punishment in the afterlife for those who do bad or evil things in their life on earth. This mysterious place called hell is also the source of a fair number of slang expressions and idioms in English. You can hear this word and its expressions/slang in movies and TV shows quite often. Let’s have a look at the word hell today.

IMPORTANT! Keep in mind that using the word hell can be considered offensive, and because of that, hell is considered a “bad” or “taboo” word in English. Because of this, I am presenting this lesson for your information and for educational purposes only. While I think it is good to know these expressions, I can not recommend that you use them. Please, be careful!

We use the hell to emphasize the question word, usually (but not always) when we are upset or irritated.

  • What the hell are you doing?
  • Where the hell is Jack?
  • Who the hell left these dirty dishes here?
  • Why the hell did you say that to me?
  • How the hell did he do that?

We use go to hell when we are angry with someone. It means “go away!” or “I’m so angry at you!”

  • Go to hell!

We use be + hell to mean an unpleasant place or situation:

  • Driving to work in rush hour traffic is hell.
  • My job is hell!
  • It was hell trying to a parking space in Manhattan during the snowstorm.

We use [someone (or) something] from hell to mean an unpleasant person or situation:

  • Last night at the restaurant we had the waiter from hell. He spilled my wine but didn’t apologize!
  • Jane hates her new job. She said she has the boss from hell.
  • Tom had the vacation from hell. He lost his passport, got his wallet stolen and then missed the flight coming home.

We use a/one hell of a + [noun] to mean “a really great/impressive [noun]” in a positive meaning.

  • That was a hell of a party last night. I really enjoyed it!
  • That is one hell of a big birthday cake!
  • Did you see the baseball game last night? That was a hell of a home run!

We also can use hell to emphasize our yes or no response in a conversation:

  • Jack: Did you enjoy the party?
  • Joe: Hell yes! (Yes, very much!)
  • Jane: Do you like that guy?
  • Cathy: Hell no! (No way!)

Have you heard hell in a movie or TV show recently? How was it used? Leave a comment here and let me know. Would you like to learn more Taboo words? Let me know

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Thanks for studying today!