Expelled for a tweeted syntactic observation

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Indiana's News Center reports that a student, Austin Carroll, has been expelled from Garrett High School for posting this tweet on his own Twitter account:

Fuck is one of those fucking words you can fucking put anywhere in a fucking sentence and it still fucking makes sense.

The school says he posted from a school computer; he says he did it from home and it's none of their business.

What saddens me is that Austin was making a linguistic observation, and it's basically almost true. This may be a budding linguist, and he's been kicked out of his high school for a syntactic observation.

In those fucking words and a fucking sentence we see fucking as an attributive modifier of a noun, like an attributive adjective. In fucking put anywhere and fucking makes sense we see it as a pre-head modifier of a verb, analogous to a pre-verbal adverb. In these uses it sometimes actually interrupts the word it modifies, just before the primary stress (I'm not moving to Okla-fucking-homa). The base form also serves as a verb meaning "have penetrative intercourse with", of course, and a noun meaning "event of penetrative intercourse". And (perhaps its most frequent uses) it occurs as an interjection, as in Oh, fuck!, and as a pleonastic pseudo-noun forming part of the post-wh-word idiom seen in What the fuck was that?.

When you find a word stem that arguably falls in at least five different lexical categories and occurs in a whole range of syntactic and even intra-word environments, it is a reasonable exaggeration to say that it occurs (almost) any-fucking-where.

Sure, his tweet was indecorous, but no more than this post is (my excuse is that I'm a fully licensed linguistic practitioner and I'm writing this from Language Log Plaza in my free time on a Sunday night, not from the premises of the university that employs me during the day: trust me). I hate to see someone actually expelled for making a statement about syntax, however crude and approximate.

[Hat tip to Victor Steinbok. Comments might be indecorous, and I wouldn't want any of you expelled.]

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