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Old 05-22-2013, 06:59 PM   #91
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...I hope we also agree that more chocolate is always better than less chocolate.
I assure you that you will receive no argument from me on that!
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:48 PM   #92
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I don't condone anything. But I couldn't care less if an author uses "I could care less" in dialog. Language is full of quirks, and doesn't behave at all like math or logic.

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Old 05-22-2013, 11:37 PM   #93
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In terms of writing (rather than casual speech), Robert Graves argued that it is precisely because English is imperfect that it requires logical usage on the part of the writer. English doesn't have the purified palette or grid of perfect constructions found in French. But what English loses in perfection, it gains in expressiveness and richness.

While the survival of words does depend on popular consensus, the person who wants to be understood will make use of every advantage which helps the reader to understand, and logic is one of them. For that reason and not mere consensus, the writer will choose to avoid the phrase could care less.

The other reason to avoid the phrase is because it's distracting. The controversy it has inspired on this thread alone should be enough to show that using it can take the listener/reader completely off course whether you feel that person is being pedantic or not.

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 05-22-2013 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:03 PM   #94
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Well, I will not pretend to have read thousands and thousands of authors but so far in my life I do not recall having read any author blatantly misusing syntax and grammar, ever !

(Exception made of course of parts in novels where the author makes a character that has no education or a specific accent translated into incorrect syntax speak or write as, for instance Stephen King seems to do often) But that of course is not the issue here.

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I don't condone anything. But I couldn't care less if an author uses "I could care less" in dialog. Language is full of quirks, and doesn't behave at all like math or logic.

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Old 05-23-2013, 04:43 PM   #95
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The other reason to avoid the phrase is because it's distracting. The controversy it has inspired on this thread alone should be enough to show that using it can take the listener/reader completely off course whether you feel that person is being pedantic or not.
On the other hand, it could be great free advertising.
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:20 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by Prestidigitweeze View Post
In terms of writing (rather than casual speech), Robert Graves argued that it is precisely because English is imperfect that it requires logical usage on the part of the writer. English doesn't have the purified palette or grid of perfect constructions found in French. But what English loses in perfection, it gains in expressiveness and richness.

While the survival of words does depend on popular consensus, the person who wants to be understood will make use of every advantage which helps the reader to understand, and logic is one of them. For that reason and not mere consensus, the writer will choose to avoid the phrase could care less.

The other reason to avoid the phrase is because it's distracting. The controversy it has inspired on this thread alone should be enough to show that using it can take the listener/reader completely off course whether you feel that person is being pedantic or not.
Being understood is rarely my only goal. My name ain't Finnegan, but I always reserve the right to Muddy the Waters (maybe because I don't know Diddley).

To avoid controversy on this issue, one would also have to avoid "I couldn't care less". Might I suggest something like "my Care-o-meter is pegged at zero" or "call the veterinarian 'cause my Care Bears are flatlining".

Juxtapose "loose" and "lose", however, and it's on like something that is completely and totally on.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:42 AM   #97
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Being understood is rarely my only goal. My name ain't Finnegan, but I always reserve the right to Muddy the Waters (maybe because I don't know Diddley).

To avoid controversy on this issue, one would also have to avoid "I couldn't care less". Might I suggest something like "my Care-o-meter is pegged at zero" or "call the veterinarian 'cause my Care Bears are flatlining".
The odd part of this exchange is that I feel as though I were talking to myself under a pseudonym. See my wordplay as Scrypt on Head-fi (and my writing nearly anywhere else).

Your puns on blues musicians' names and dalliance with care are not ambiguous in tone or intent. If you had brought in could care less as well, you'd have continued putting your particular spin on that grotesquely large chestnut (as it were).

Being understood doesn't necessarily mean being simplistic. If the intent is to use I could care less ironically and/or playfully, then some readers will get it and some will not; it's your choice whether you want to be crystal or opaque.

Personally, I try to avoid using cliches and/or notoriously incorrect phrases inattentively; in ways that have nothing to do with my intent.

The phrase we're discussing is not only cliche but controversial, and if the intent isn't playful or metalinguistic, then by using it, I would be taking the reader right out of My Little Poesy. I'd effectively shatter the spell of my wordworld, causing my reader to blink at the text while thought-typing What The Flick.

If you're Charles Bernstein, Bob Perelman or a Flarf poet (more than Joyce, for example), then you're practically fated to use could care less in a macaronic prose/stanza'd/typographically-experimental poem.

If you're a journalist trying to convince someone of your argument and said argument doesn't involve mockery, then you might prefer sanding your own ribcage to sassing the reader with a solecism.

The difference is apparent on this thread:

Some people have used the phrase humorously while others have defended it in earnest. Few if any of us have actually used the phrase in earnest.

Of course, you could also fancy yourself a modern Twain (Mark, not Shania) and create a character who thinks in cliches to non-cliche-yet-earnest effect (Huck Finn, anywound?), but that's not the same as using I could care less uncritically, let alone while sleepwriting your way through a paracaramel shoegrazing Zombie Kong coming-of-phage bodice gypper.

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 05-24-2013 at 12:40 PM. Reason: Linked to a more pertinent poem by Mr. Bernstein.
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:46 AM   #98
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The odd part of this exchange is that I feel as though I were talking to myself under a pseudonym. See my wordplay as Scrypt on Head-fi (and my writing nearly anywhere else).

Your puns on blues musicians' names and dalliance with care are not ambiguous in tone or intent. If you had brought in could care less as well, you'd have continued putting your particular spin on that grotesquely large chestnut (as it were).
I'd already used it before. I hate to bore myself.

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Being understood doesn't necessarily mean being simplistic. If the intent is to use I could care less ironically and/or playfully, then some readers will get it and some will not; it's your choice whether you want to be crystal or opaque.

Personally, I try to avoid using cliches and/or notoriously incorrect phrases inattentively; in ways that have nothing to do with my intent.

The phrase we're discussing is not only cliche but controversial, and if the intent isn't playful or metalinguistic, then by using it, I would be taking the reader right out of My Little Poesy. I'd effectively shatter the spell of my wordworld, causing my reader to blink at the text while thought-typing What The Flick.
I don't know why you're bringing ponies and Flicka into the conversation. Are you Mary O'Hara?

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If you're Charles Bernstein, Bob Perelman or a Flarf poet (more than Joyce, for example), then you're practically fated to use could care less in a macaronic prose/stanza'd/typographically-experimental poem.
If I'm all those guys, no wonder I'm so tired. I should talk to my doctor.

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If you're a journalist trying to convince someone of your argument and said argument doesn't involve mockery, then you might prefer sanding your own ribcage to sassing the reader with a solecism.
Solipcism? Maybe I am you.

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The difference is apparent on this thread:
And Velveeta la difference, as the French say.

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Some people have used the phrase humorously while others have defended it in earnest. Few if any of us have actually used the phrase in earnest.
Nobody, not even Oscar Wilde, has ever dared to call me Earnest. Take care lest I start calling you Vern.

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Of course, you could also fancy yourself a modern Twain (Mark, not Shania)
While I haven't seen any pictures of her lately, I'd rather fancy Shania. I've heard that she feels like a woman. I'd like to test that claim.

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and create a character who thinks in cliches to non-cliche-yet-earnest effect (Huck Finn, anywound?), but that's not the same as using I could care less uncritically, let alone while sleepwriting your way through a paracaramel shoegrazing Zombie Kong coming-of-phage bodice gypper.
Why'd you have to end it all with a cross-dressing Ronald Reagan? I'd sally forth against you, but I'm not sure she's still in print. Besides, but I'm busy battling Microsoft at the moment.

Damn! I got extremulously verbitten. Too much. I'll be in bed for a weak. Someone send Shania.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:05 AM   #99
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Nobody, not even Oscar Wilde, has ever dared to call me Earnest. Take care lest I start calling you Vern.
If this thread would get into name calling, that'd be very bad, Shirley.

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Old 05-24-2013, 10:49 AM   #100
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If this thread would get into name calling, that'd be very bad, Shirley.
Odd. I keep hearing the sound of wooden shoes running through my temple. Is somebody trying to steal my tulips? Maybe you're after my Textus Receptus. It's a good thing I hired Don Quixote to be the head of my Night Watch. His experience combating windmills is unmatched. You'd better get Reformed before he cuts your ear off on a Starry Night. Go back to Flying your reefers. I'd better quit before I have to pay half the check. I'll really be in Dutch.

And I wonder why Nederlanders hate me.

(Wow! I didn't see the obvious Reagan reference until after I'd done it. Now I'm dejected. My vermeer of competence shaken. I'll sit in the corner with my hat.)

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Old 05-24-2013, 02:32 PM   #101
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Being Dutch would be being in dutch as I would rather not be ...

What's Nederlander ?
Don't you mean Netherlander ?

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I'd better quit before I have to pay half the check. I'll really be in Dutch.

And I wonder why Nederlanders hate me.

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Old 05-24-2013, 03:32 PM   #102
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"Nederlander" is the Dutch word.

The English word would be Dutchman or (sometimes) Netherlander. And the country is not Holland.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:40 PM   #103
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My heart starts to pitter-patter if a guy can distinguish between discreet and discrete.
It's a sad, sad language that is only discernable through the context of the conversation or the writing.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:46 PM   #104
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It's a sad, sad language that is only discernable through the context of the conversation or the writing.
All languages are like that that. That's why they are languages, and not equations.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:14 PM   #105
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All languages are like that that. That's why they are languages, and not equations.
I will agree that language is fluid and context matters, but most languages are not as messed up as English is. The biggest reason is English has taken from so many languages over the year. It is the true Franken-language.

What other language uses the same word to have entirely different meanings.

Cleave and buckle for instance?

Why was the bridge was buckled? Fastened securely? Bent out of shape? Probably the second since it's rare to use it in the first instance in that context, but it is not an incorrect usage of the term.
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