Lets suppose you (Martin) park your car somewhere and leave it there. When you come back, out of the blue, you see a big scratch on your car’s surface. You have your friend with you who you stand on ceremony with him and cannot let off your steam by using bad language and swear words, but you would like to express your sentiments. I need to know what Americans use to describe the person who has scratched the car in the following scenario; (the only choice which comes to my mind is "so-and-so", but I doubt if I can use it in the following scenario in this way or not:

Friend: Wow, look Martin! Someone has scratched your car
Martin: Oh, no! Which so-and-so has done it?

  • Seems like you are asking for polite swear words. I suppose there are to many of them.
    – user3169
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 20:08
  • Thanks @user3169 for the prompt reply; but more than that I need to know whether 'so-and-so' is usable in the way above or I have to rephrase my sentence to make myself more understood?
    – A-friend
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 20:11
  • 1
    Something like "What kind of person/idiot could have done this?" I wouldn't use "so-and-so" but that may just be me.
    – user3169
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 20:17
  • I'd be inclined to use "jerk" but you also need to not use such proper English: which and has done it. "What jerk did that?" or "That jerk better hope I never find him."
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 20:37
  • In the US its generally acceptable to curse when someone (dick) keys your car.
    – Mazura
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 8:03

3 Answers 3


"Oh no! What so-and-so did this?" would be perfectly appropriate. A native speaker of American English would interpret this as "Oh no! What son-of-a-bitch did this?" (In many contexts, "so-and-so" is neutral. In this context, "so-and-so" gets a negative meaning.)

Any not-quite-cuss-word used in the Looney Tunes cartoons would be appropriate. Although they are old-fashioned now, they are sure to be understood. Some of them are:

  • Dagnabbit (an interjection that is not as profane as "Damn it!")
  • Rascal
  • Tarnation (an interjection that shows "consternation")
  • Despicable (an adjective, as in "despicable person")

For example, "Who was the rascal who did this?"

  • 3
    But use of any of those implies that you are not really upset you're more pretending to be upset.
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 20:38
  • 5
    The problem with both "so-and-so" and "rascal" is that they are too mild, and could easily connote whimsy or bemusement instead of anger. Native speakers (and their listeners) distinguish these verbally by tone, but a non-native speaker may often be misunderstood because of the subtlety invovled. Better would be stronger words that are harder to misinterpret such as "idiot", "jerk" or "moron". Not quite as polite, but clearer. Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 20:44
  • The question indicates a derogatory term. "So-and-so" is a generic term that can be used in any situation, such as "I went with so-and-so to the movies." It doesn't fit in this scenario.
    – Jeremy S
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 21:30
  • 2
    @JeremyS That would be true, except there is a precedent for English speakers using "so-and-so" when they wish to refer to someone who is the target of their anger; "Oooh, if I could get my hands on that little so-and-so..."
    – Crazy Eyes
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 21:49

In this case, I wouldn’t use a name-placeholder at all. I think the better constructions would be:

  • What [descriptive noun] could have done that?
  • What [descriptive noun] could have done such a thing?
  • Who could have done that?
  • Who could have done such a thing?

As for descriptive nouns, likely choices include:

I attempted to list these from least offensive to most offensive. There are many others.

  • S.O.B. is short for "son of a bitch". "a-hole" is short for "asshole", and possibly more offensive than "asshole". "M.F.-er" is short for "motherfucker".
    – Jasper
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 21:36
  • 4
    Anything other than "jerk" is not an expression I would use in the presence of, for example, my boss or colleagues. I'm probably more cautious about my language than the typical American though and enjoy the more goofy pejoratives like numbnuts or dimwit. I think it's better to substitute a completely different word than an abbreviation or elision of something really offensive. Adults (and many kids) know exactly what word you would have used and it defeats the purpose of trying to be less vulgar.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 23:23

I try to avoid the use of profanity, at least in the presence of others.

The problem with using a non-curse euphemism (as mentioned by Jim above) is that it makes you sound like you are pretending to be angry.

In my opinion, the clearest way to communicate your anger, is to simply state it. I think I would just go with "That really pisses me off."

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