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  #41  
Old 01 June 2012, 09:22 PM
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Stan The Man Stan The Man is online now
 
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My own unscientific study shows...

Google results for "I could care less" - 32.1 million hits.
Google results for "I couldn't care less" - 16.3 million hits.

And I think 90% of those results are discussions on which is correct.
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  #42  
Old 02 June 2012, 09:28 AM
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DevilBunny DevilBunny is offline
 
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That would be because 'could care less' is a US variant, and their population is bigger than ours. That doesn't make it right. I mean, we're talking about a country that misspells 'colour'; they're plainly capable of anything!

Incidentally, the fewer/less 'distinction' was invented in the 1770s and never caught on in common usage. The two have been used interchangeably back to the time of King Alfred.

See also *http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/langu...es/003775.html and various other LanguageLog articles.
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  #43  
Old 02 June 2012, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilBunny View Post
That would be because 'could care less' is a US variant, and their population is bigger than ours.
A US variant meaning that some in the US use it, yes. I actually remember being confused as a child the first time I heard someone say "could care less."
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  #44  
Old 02 June 2012, 09:22 PM
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Blatherskite Blatherskite is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilBunny View Post
Incidentally, the fewer/less 'distinction' was invented in the 1770s and never caught on in common usage. The two have been used interchangeably back to the time of King Alfred.
Out of interest, is the same true of the word 'few'? Because I was under the impression that you say 'fewer' only for amounts that you could describe as 'a few'. For example, I wouldn't say I had a few bread, so I wouldn't say I had fewer bread. I could say I had a few loaves, so I would say fewer loaves. Fewer bottles. Less beer. Fewer pints. Less fun.

Was 'few' used differently, or is my distinction incorrect and in fact 'fewer' need not be tied to the word 'few'?

ETA: just to clarify, I don't see the problem with using 'less' even for amounts that can be described as a few (less bottles, less pints) but I do see why 'fewer' has a specific usage. It's not usually the word fewer that is used 'incorrectly', but the word less. I am curious if they were entirely interchangeable or whether only the word less was considered acceptable under any circumstance.

Last edited by Blatherskite; 02 June 2012 at 09:32 PM.
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  #45  
Old 03 June 2012, 09:11 AM
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"fewer" and "less" relate, respectively, to countable and uncountable nouns. But the word "more" covers both when you want to talk about greater numbers or amounts: I don't think there's a comparable problem there.

It would make sense if "less" and "more" were simply treated as appropriate opposites in both countable and uncountable cases, with "fewer" admitted to be an alternate usage that does only apply to countable things.

Slightly related: the use of "majority" in some contexts bothers me. I think that again it's to do with countable and uncountable things: I can accept "a majority of people voted Labour" or "a majority of the sweets in the bag are green" but not "he drank the majority of the milk". Weirdly the more I try to think about examples, the less convinced I am that I actually do have this problem It might be more a problem of construction than usage...

And while I'm charging about on my high horse, what about "multiple"? The phrase "I [did X] multiple times" really jars with me. Like "could care less" I first encountered it on the boards. I would tend to say something like "several", "many", or "a number of" instead of "multiple" times: is it a recent development?
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  #46  
Old 03 June 2012, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilBunny View Post
That would be because 'could care less' is a US variant, [...]
What's your evidence for that?
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  #47  
Old 03 June 2012, 06:54 PM
Rufus R. Jones Rufus R. Jones is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
What's your evidence for that?
Uhhh. . . how about the link in post #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by The link in Post 21
The inverted form I could care less was coined in the US and is found only there.
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