Recently I have been bumping into statements that something "sucks" everywhere on the Net and while chatting, and I feel it is quite a new phenomenon (though I may be wrong here). I am aware that it denotes something like "it's bad as it can be", but I'm interested in how much it is a "strong" expression, i.e. whether it is considered vulgar, or just a piece of "acceptable slang". Can you inform me about its "shock degree"?
It has been around for ages, for as long as I can remember. Once upon a time, it had some shock value, but not anymore. It's plain old slang now. If you wanted add some oompf to it, to shock your target, you could say: that blows! Even then, it's only unlikely to shake up someone of the older generations.
*If you wanted to add...
it's only unlikely -> it's only likely
Strange, "that sucks" sounds stronger to my ears than "that blows". But I believe you're right. By the way I'm always confused if you are a native speaker or not, as I have seen you're also quite good at French. So is your first language English or French (I hope you don't mind me asking)?
English: because of the society I live in, but I've spoken French my whole life too.
Re: sucking and blowing: Think of the sexual connotations. LOL
So british people not say things like 'you suck, that sucks/sux or if want to be really l33t on the net 'that SuXorz'?
I know americans say it all the time, so do we in NZ!
>>So british people not say things like 'you suck, that sucks/sux or if want to be really l33t on the net 'that SuXorz'?
Start making sense, you fool. And we Britons *do* say things "suck", although not as frequently as the Americans.
Oh, the "suck" phenomenon has been around for years; so has the "cool" phenomenon. In universal youth jargon (American, British, Aust, NZ, Canadian, etc.), something either "sucks" or is "cool". These words have become so commonplace that even old people are beginning to use them. Hackneyed.
To Mr Lost in London,
Sono spiacente ma non li capisco.
It's used for insulting and cursing,
suck on that! (when you outperform your opponent)
this/that sucks! (for an undesirable situation)
It's also used for expressing inability, the poor state of something, or a dislike.
that sucks! ~ that's just not good enough.
that car sucks! ~ I don't like that car.
I suck at putting (golf) ~ I'm hopeless at putting.
You suck at choosing wines ... let me take over!
Use your judgement as to the shock value.
I apologise for not being very up-to-date, but it's only recently that I've started chatting regularly with native English speakers (mainly Americans), therefore my ignorance. I've started encountering this expression since about two months being used for all kinds of things, and what I really wanted to know was what degree of dissatisfaction it expressed. Now I see that it is somewhere halfway between "cool" and "crap".:-) Thank you for your contributions.
'That sucks' is definitely an Americanism, and is used as such by the British people that use it. So an English boy in trainers and a baseball cap might well say 'that sucks'. I'd say it is one of the phrases that you should understand but not necessarily use in British society.
I've chatted with a lot of Americans, Canadians and Australians (not so many British people though) and many of them use the word "sucks" a lot.
The word ''sucks'' sucks.