The West Wing

Election Day (Part 1) - S7-E16

Continuity mistake: When Bruno and Bob are poring over exit polls, they mention that Santos seems to be leading in North Dakota, and comment that it is a state that hasn't gone Democratic in forty years. While that is true in the real world, in the fictional West Wing world, it is stated in Season 4 that Bartlet won the Dakotas in his landslide reelection.

marathon69

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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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