Two-in-Five Canadians Always Alter Their Words to Avoid Swearing

Across the country, almost half (48%) admit to changing the way they speak sometimes, while 14% never do.

Vancouver, BC [April 11, 2019] – A sizeable proportion of Canadians admit to being cautious about how they speak in public, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 38% of Canadians say they always alter the way they speak to make sure they do not swear in public. 

Almost half of Canadians (48%) admit to sometimes altering the way they speak so as not to swear in front of certain people, while 14% claim to never alter the way they speak and do not worry about it if a curse word comes out.

Women (40%), residents aged 55 and over (42%) and Quebecers (43%) are more likely to say they always alter how they speak to prevent swearing.

Two thirds of Canadians (68%) say they hear swearing “frequently” or “occasionally” when they are talking with friends. More than half also report hearing curse words in conversations with strangers (55%), relatives (53%) and co-workers (52%).

“There are some differences across the country when it comes to listening to co-workers swear,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Ontarians are the most likely to report hearing curse words in the workplace (52%), while Albertans are at the bottom of this list (44%).” 

When asked about the times they use curse words themselves, more than half of Canadians (52%) say they swear “frequently” or “occasionally” when they are having a conversation with friends.

Significantly smaller proportions of Canadians say they rely on curse words when they are speaking with relatives (40%), co-workers (34%) and strangers (23%). 

Canadians aged 18-to-34 are more likely to acknowledge that they swear when having conversations with friends (73%), relatives (55%), co-workers (47%) and strangers (33%) than those aged 35-to-54 and those aged 55 and over.


Results are based on an online study conducted from April 4 to April 7, 2019, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.