There was this - i think fantasy - book that had a character who used a literal "ing" instead of any swearing. I mean all the time, every second or third phrase.

Might have been one of Pratchett's, or maybe Neil Gaiman's, but maybe I'm just attributing it to some books I remember fondly.

Said character was in a negative role - perhaps some kind of killer.

Any pointers would be appreciated, because I've taken to using -ing in my posts myself and I forgot why :)

1 Answer 1


I think you're thinking of Mr Tulip, one of the villains from The Truth by Terry Pratchett. From the discworld wiki:

Mr Tulip (other names unknown) is, along with Mr Pin, a member of the New Firm, a duo of interloping criminals in the The Truth... He also suffers a mild speech impediment, causing him to often insert "—ing" mid-sentence This hints that Mr Tulip's parental figures have left a lasting impression on his psyche, as he is someone who WANTS to swear but has been taught not to. It is also likely a commentary on the use and censorship of the swear "f***ing" in dialogue.

As an example of this:

Mr Tulip here once got even more money than that for saying just a few words, Charlie,' said Mr Pin soothingly.

'Yeah, I said, "Give me all the --ing cash or the girl gets it,"' said Mr Tulip.

  • 1
    The Truth is the most likely candidate, but other Discworld books have similar things, like someone complaining about -ing wizards in Mort (and then being told he shouldn't - them).
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 3 at 23:00
  • Sacharissa uses it too, and wonders what it mean, which is the point at which it becomes absolutely clear that it's not censored but his actually saying it.
    – Mary
    Commented Apr 4 at 3:35
  • As I remember it it's Mr Tulip and no other occasional use of -ing. Villain character, check, uses it all the time and no other swearing, check.
    – Torp
    Commented Apr 4 at 10:49
  • And it's actually rather genius as a swear word for a traveler since there are so many curses that end in "ing" you can basically use all of them simultaneously and the listener will pick the one that's most culturally appropriate to the circumstances without you having to bother to figure out which one that is in this part of the world.
    – Perkins
    Commented Apr 4 at 17:29
  • Sacharissa does not use it much. Only in the climax, when threatening to get access to a printing press.
    – Mary
    Commented Apr 8 at 2:04

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