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"I COULD care less" or "I COULDN'T care less" Which is it?

 
 
Lord Ellpus
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 04:40 pm
I suppose Kicky would say "Look over there....Moth...hundreds of 'em"


He knows I love him really.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 04:41 pm
Geesh, Ellpus, don't you know the plural of "moth" is "mooth"??

<shakes head in disappointment>
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 04:46 pm
How can that be, when the plural of "mooth" is "meeth"?
0 Replies
 
Lord Ellpus
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 04:47 pm
My cat theekth meetheth, doth that help?
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 08:03 pm
That made it far worse for me Ellpus.
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chichan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 08:19 pm
English speakers do English a whole lot better than they analyse English.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
http://www.bartleby.com/64/C003/078.html

I could care less! you might say sometime in disgust. You might just as easily have said I couldn't care less and meant the same thing! How can this be? When taken literally, the phrase I could care less means "I care more than I might," rather than "I don't care at all." But the beauty of sarcasm is that it can turn meanings on their head, thus allowing could care less to work as an equivalent for couldn't care less. Because of its sarcasm, could care less is more informal than its negative counterpart and may be open to misinterpretation when used in writing. 1

The phrases cannot but and can but present a similar case of a positive and a negative meaning the same thing. For more on this, see cannot under Grammar.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 08:44 pm
But as folks who use English, we know that you don't use this phrase with sarcasm.

Damned academics.
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Lord Ellpus
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 11:10 pm
........nope, never heard it used in a sarcastic way, I'm afraid.

If it was, then the sentence would probably include a "like" in there as well.

"Yeah, like I could care less".......... sort of thing.

Never heard it though.
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 11:23 pm
I agree
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 12:41 am
I couldn't care less.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 05:19 am
kickycan wrote:
"I COULD care less" or "I COULDN'T care less" Which is it?

Either is fine with me. Between you and I, kicky, I could care less -- and America's highest authority on linguistics is on my side.

In an article reprinted in 'The Language Instinct', Steven Pinker wrote:
A tin ear for stress and melody, and an obliviousness to the principles of discourse and rhetoric, are important tools of the trade for the language maven. Consider an alleged atrocity committed by today's youth: the expression I could care less. The teenagers are trying to express disdain, the adults note, in which case they should be saying I couldn't care less. If they could care less than they do, that means that they really do care, the opposite of what they are trying to say. But if these dudes would stop ragging on teenagers and scope out the construction, they would see that their argument is bogus. Listen to how the two versions are pronounced: [...] The melodies and stresses are completely different, and for a good reason. The second version is not illogical, it's sarcastic. The point of sarcasm is that by making an assertion that is manifestly false or accompanied by ostentatiously mannered intonation, one deliberately implies its opposite. A good paraphrase is, "Oh yeah, as if there were something in the world that I care less about."

Source

So long, tin-ears!
0 Replies
 
Lord Ellpus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 06:34 am
America's highest authority on linguistics........now there is a combination of words that brings a tear to the eye.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 06:38 am
Wait until I tell you about England's highest authority on cooking.
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Lord Ellpus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 06:39 am
Or Germany's highest authority on humour?
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 06:42 am
It's 'humor'. British English is such a waste of characters.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 06:57 am
I'm still having difficulty in understanding how sarcasm applied to "I could care less" makes it "I couldn't care less"...
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 07:00 am
As a matter of simple logic, Steve, you either could care less about something or you couldn't. If you say "could" in a sarcastic tone, that makes clear it is false. Since "couldn't" is the only alternative to "could", it must be true. QED.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 07:03 am
Thomas wrote:
It's 'humor'. British English is such a waste of characters.


We correct spellers have character to spare.
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 07:05 am
I think Pinker over-analyses things, and ends up falling on his arse.

But that's only my opinion.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 07:13 am
"As a matter of simple logic, Steve,"

ah yes logic.

as in X < Y

unless I was being sarcastic in which case

X > Y.

and quod erat demonstrandum to you my dear Thomas
0 Replies
 
 

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