General Question

8lightminutesaway's avatar

Why do people say this?

Asked by 8lightminutesaway (1408points) March 7th, 2008

I find it mildly irritating when people say “I could care less” when the expression is clearly supposed to be “I couldn’t care less.” Why do people do that? I mean its not like they say it with sarcasm because almost all of the people I’ve asked about it don’t even realize their mistake.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

32 Answers

ishotthesheriff's avatar

ack i know, i just heard someone say it today. i don’t get it either.

delirium's avatar

Its sarcasm.

Riser's avatar

to me that’s like “same difference.” I HATE same difference, and please no one here make sense of it to me because I hate very little and I want to keep hating that.

cake7's avatar

agree with delirium. Everytime I hear I could care less it is always sarcastic.

delirium's avatar

I guess that’s kind of how i hate the name of the game ‘trivial pursuit’ because it always comes off as useless pursuit to me.

annaott22's avatar

I hate hate hate it when people say pacifically instead of specifically. It drives me up the freakin wall because as soon as that comes out of their mouth I know I’m speaking to a complete idiot!

delirium's avatar

(A good substitute for “I could care less” is what I use… “Somehow… i just can’t find a reason to care.”

Riser's avatar

or “probly” instead of “probably”

annaott22's avatar

oh yes that one too

8lightminutesaway's avatar

some people go so far as to say “prolly” too

annaott22's avatar

yes I correct people when they do that but they can’t help it from all this southern education they’re getting ( I’m from the south nothing agenst southerners) LOL

Perchik's avatar

@Riser
A : 5–3 = 2
B : 9 – 7 = 2.

Equations A and B have the same difference (just kidding)

DeezerQueue's avatar

I suppose it’s because language is constantly changing, not necessarily a static item in our lives, open and prone to fads. What many do forget, however, is that what they say leaves a lasting impression upon others. Even beauty pageants require oral skills, and through the years some of the most buzzed about comments have to do with that portion alone. Finally, a lot of people have become quite lazy about their language skills. Someone may not be stupid, but if they don’t take care in how they express themselves, they can easily impart the impression that they’re fools or idiots.

Don’t be one of them.

Riser's avatar

@ Perchik: Damn you sir. Now I only hate Hannah Montana and the word “foliage.”

Noon's avatar

I always find it fascinating how resistant people are to language change. Language is not a constant, and is in a constant state of flux and evolution. For those of you who get all bent out of shape when you hear “Prolly” or “Gunna”, or “Could care less” becoming a idiomatic use of a sarcastic statement, just think about one thing for a second.

The language you speak right now is not Old English, Germanic, or Indo-European. It got to where it is now some how. The english you speak now, is “poorly spoken english” of several hundred years ago. And several hundred years from now people are going to complain that people aren’t saying “prolly” and “gunny” right anymore.

Laura047's avatar

You know what they mean. Don’t be so anal.

Laura047's avatar

Sorry that came off as rather harsh.

squirbel's avatar

Well, my time spent in Alabama was the worst in my life. People actually deride you for speaking properly – in their words “talkin’ proper”. There are a lot of colloquialisms like “fixing to” which means “about to do”... that one drives me up the wall because… well… pet peeves are irrational, right?

delirium's avatar

I tend to be a grammar nazi. I can’t even come up with examples of things that really annoy me…. I know what Kinds annoy me, though. I absolutely hate double negatives. And I hate people not understanding what is plural and what isn’t. Rawr.

Ooh, this is an Ohio thing, but people always say things like:
“The lawn needs mowed”. Ech. Its “The lawn needs TO BE mowed.”

squirbel's avatar

Wow. Pretty sure that would annoy me to no end.

Here’s a phrase that always gets messed up: “right off the bat”. I’ve heard people say “right off the back”. The origin is derived from baseball and cricket… what reason do these “back” people have?

delirium's avatar

Hahaha, I love (and hate) when people mess up sayings. I wish I could think of examples i’ve heard recently, but it always makes me laugh.

(I also have a friend who insists that salmon is pronounced sal-mon. So annoying!)

squirbel's avatar

Hah, Mardi Gras becomes Mardi “Grass”!

Heh, I better stop before I get reprimanded…

delirium's avatar

Its not exactly threadjacking… would this be questionjacking?

Noon's avatar

A few words on double negatives (mostly from wikipedia ;-):

In English, the double negative was not considered “wrong” till 1762 when some guy wrote a grammar where he decided it was wrong. He was a bishop and based most of his grammatical rules on Latin, a language English is not related to. Up till then the double negative was used including some good old Chaucer.

Also most languages, including those who share same linguistic parents as English, use double negatives, and consider double negatives not only permissible, but grammatically wrong without them at times.

squirbel's avatar

This is when I take a huge grain of salt – and I mean HUGE – and keep it close by for citing wikipedia.

Noon's avatar

Citations for my previous post:
Bishop Robert Lowth: A Short Introduction to English Grammar with Critical Notes
Chaucer’s use of double negative: “Ther nas no man no wher so vertuous” (The Canterbury Tales line 250, page 4 on Google books)
Languages Using double negative:
Portuguese: “Eu não sei nada.”
French: “Je ne sais pas.”
Spanish: “Yo no se nada

squirbel's avatar

rules of language change. Evolve is a better word.

delirium's avatar

I do know that. But its still annoying now.

DeezerQueue's avatar

Some may hold that it devolves rather than evolves. At times this is probably true, like some of the cited examples, right off the back and the lawn needs mowed. These are certainly not positive turns in the direction of language.

I am consistently bothered by the mispronunciation of nuclear. It’s become so frequently mispronounced that it’s become acceptable.

Noon's avatar

Honestly “devolve” and “evolve” is a matter of opinion. The point of language is not to have a proper form and an improper form. If people understand “Lawn needs mowed”, then it could actually be viewed as more efficient, and evolved. “to be” is eliminated taking two words (two syllables) out of the sentence without confusing the meaning at all, it might even be considered poetic. ;-)

As for nuclear, words change pronunciation, they just do. ask used to be pronounced aks and now aks is considered wrong, and I’m sure in a few more years the reverse will be true.

DeezerQueue's avatar

That’s where our opinions clearly differ. There have to be some rules to language in order to give it structure. While I am aware that language is not static, I am not always pleased at the direction it sometimes takes.

Poser's avatar

“Could care less” indicates a level of concern that can be diminished. Therefore, if I claim I could care less about someone, I’m saying that I care about that person. A true insult would be I “couldn’t care less,” as that would mean that it is not possible for me to have any smaller degree of concern for that person.

So the phrase “couldn’t care less” is already sarcastic. When it morphs into “could care less,” it becomes a double irony, which just sounds stupid.

Not to get all hoity-toity. Just wanted to clarify.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther