The West Wing

Ways and Means - S3-E4

Continuity mistake: When Doug, Toby, and Sam are talking to the President about how to handle the attempted repeal of the estate tax, they mention several times that it will be the President's first veto, and that it is something that he has never done before. However, in episode four of season two, "In This White House", in the scene where Sam is debating Ainsley Hayes on Capital Beat, the moderator asks why the President's education bill is different from the Republican proposed bill "which the President vetoed." So, the veto of the estate tax repeal was not the president's first.

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In Excelsis Deo - S1-E10

Question: This is as good a place to ask as any. In various US TV shows (including this one, and this episode), someone says "I could care less", when they always seem to mean "I couldn't care less", ie. they have no interest in what's going on. Surely if they COULD care less that means they actually care a reasonable amount? Is there any logic to this, or is it just a really annoying innate lack of sense?

Jon Sandys Premium member

Chosen answer: A really annoying innate lack of sense. My friends and family say the same thing all the time, and I'm endlessly trying to correct them. I think people just don't know any better and (ironically) couldn't care less that they're speaking incorrectly.

Answer: It's an endlessly annoying dropped negative, and it's been a common colloquialism for far too long. I believe it comes from an original (and now omitted and merely implied) "As if" preceding the statement. "As if I could care less." (Meaning "As if it were possible that I could care even less than I do.") But there's really no way to know.

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