Fuck You: Linguistics
In 1967 University of Chicago linguist Jim McCawley proposed that fuck, when used as an epithet, as in Fuck you, is not a verb, because it accepts none of the adjuncts of a normal sentence:
- I said to fuck you.
- Don’t fuck you.
- Do fuck you.
- Please fuck you.
- Fuck you, won’t you?
- Go fuck you.
- Fuck you or I’ll take away your teddy bear.
- Fuck you and I’ll give you a dollar.
Also, Fuck you “has neither declarative nor interrogative nor imperative meaning; one can neither deny nor answer nor comply with such an utterance.”
What is it, then? McCawley proposed “quasi-verb,” a new category that can be followed by a noun phrase.
The full paper is here; the journal Language credits it with being the first satirical linguistics paper.