"Could" or "Couldn't" (Care Less)?

Discussion in 'All Other Discussions' started by David Lamb, May 6, 2011.

  1. David Lamb

    David Lamb
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    I've recently seen a number of times recently on the BB the phrase, "I could care less." It's not a phrase I hear in my own country, and I'm just wondering what Americans mean when they use it.

    Taken at face value, it would seem to mean: "I do care about this matter to some extent, so I could reduce the amount I care about it, and thus care less."

    However, the context where I have seen it suggests that it is used in the same way as our British English expression: "I couldn't care less", that is, I care so little about the matter that I couldn't reduce the amount I care - I really couldn't care any less than I do.

    :) :)
     
  2. Tom Bryant

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    You're right, the context shows they both mean that we could NOT care less. Welcome to American English!
     
  3. annsni

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    Properly, it SHOULD be "couldn't care less" but so many people say it the other way.
     
  4. matt wade

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    The proper phrase is "couldn't care less". Many people say it the incorrect way.
     
  5. David Lamb

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    Thanks Tom, and Ann.

    British English also has plenty of illogical phrases. (I'm scratching my head trying to think of a good example, but I can't at the moment).
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Or frankly Charlotte, I dont give a damn! In American, or at least in New Jersey that becomes Dont give a _____ (then you add your own expletive) ranging from excrement to a vulgar sex act. Bada Boom, Bada Bing!
     
  7. Earth Wind and Fire

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    The one I like the best (told to me by a Brit on this board) is "keep your pecker up" think that means keep your head held high but in the States it has a whole other potential meaning.:laugh:

    Cheers!
     
  8. Jim1999

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    To better understand a contraction just spell the word out fully; ie: couldn't is could not. Hence, I could not care less, where as could care less means we could care less, but we don't.

    By the way, "Keep your pecker up" means to keep smiling. It was a very common expression in East London when parting company.

    Brits are masters of double entendre, and the ultimate meaning is up to the listener.

    Cheers (used either coming or going),

    Jim
     
    #8 Jim1999, May 6, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2011
  9. David Lamb

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    I thought that was what I said, Jim.

    Yes, that phrase, minus the first r in "precker", is common over here. No double entendre is involved, though; the word isn't slang for the male reproductive organ here, as I understand it is in the US.

    or more often used in the "ceremony" of clinking glasses together before having an alcoholic drink!

     
  10. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Since I've got two British Subjects here, perhaps you can tell my why my three British Bulldogs need to have dog biscuits at 10:00 AM & 4:00 PM? Also, I use the term British vs English because the archaeological digs in Wales have found evidence of the Bulldog from the 6th century B.C.

    BTW, we run a bulldog rescue out of NJ if anyone is interested. They make great companions!
     
  11. following-Him

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    LOL - easy - morning coffee and biscuits and the 4 pm one is afternoon tea!:laugh:
     
  12. Salty

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    I could care less about this thread :smilewinkgrin:
     
  13. billwald

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    Could care less, could not care less. Seems to me the the latter infers not caring to a greater degree, being more negative about the state of one's caring.

    Compare with "could love you more," "Could not love you more." Which would your girlfriend prefer to hear?
     
  14. Scarlett O.

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    SCARLETT!! SCARLETT!! It's "Frankly, my Scarlett, ......"!!!! :flower::flower:

    I feel faint!! [​IMG]
     
  15. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Honestly Scarlett, not my favorite movie.....care for a beer?
     
  16. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Will have to ask the wife.:thumbsup:
     
  17. David Lamb

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    Sorry, what I know about dogs could be written on a postage stamp!

    Never heard of "English Bulldog", and although I've just said I don't know much about dogs, "British Bulldog" is a phrase in everyday language, as in this excerpt:
    Winston Churchill. "We shall fight them on the beaches.. We will never surrender" - Epitomising the British bulldog spirit. Churchill rallied the British nation to stand alone against the Nazi war machine in 1940.
    There is also a game called "British Bulldog" - its for humans, not canines!
     
  18. Earth Wind and Fire

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    The character of both the Prime Minister & the British Bulldog are very similar....even on the physical plane ....both are stocky & compact, with stubby little legs & imposing jowls. And you are correct, Churchill found himself characterized as a Bulldog on more than one occasion.
     
  19. Jerome

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    Linguist Steven Pinker explains it all—for you schoolmarm types:

    "Fallacies of the Language Mavens"

     
  20. Jim1999

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    Yes, Mr. Churchill even told us East Londoners that he "would should shoot the lot of us" because we wanted an end to the war. That march on his residence was after 7 solid months of day and night bombing in our area. We had had enough!

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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