Could or Couldn’t?

(no photo accompanying this post for good reason)

My wife and I were talking about this the other night and I still feel undecided about it. It’s about the two phrases: “I could give a crap” and “I couldn’t give a crap”. Which is it? You could or couldn’t?

Kelly Clarkson says she could.

Jim Kukral says he couldn’t.

I like Kelly better than Jim, mostly because I’ve heard of her (I found Jim’s use of the phrase with a google search). But then again, I don’t look to Kelly for proper use of the English slangatory.

So which is it? You could or couldn’t?

And besides that, either way, I don’t even really get the phrase though I know it’s meant to communicate you don’t care. I guess written as a mathematical equation it would be:

could give a crap because I don’t care < ?> couldn’t give a crap because I don’t care

Neither really makes sense but I just gots to know.

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  • I lean toward “couldn’t.” Generally “a crap” is almost completely valueless. Thus, refusing to trade such a worthless item implies that the other item proposed in the trade is worth even less than the crap.

    Similarly, when I don’t care, I could say, “I couldn’t care less.” Some say “could” but I think it should be “couldn’t.” Using “couldn’t” demonstrates an absolute minimum of caring.

  • I couldn’t give a crap. I wouldn’t give a crap. Rob…I shouldn’t give a crap.

  • If only there was a grammar Nazi around, but then maybe they couldn’t give a crap.

  • Shawn

    OK, I think I’m more interested in how this discussion started? I don’t think a discussion like this has taken place in my home. Well at least not yet, wait til the boys get older. Not something I would discuss at the dinner table. Did it start after a heated discussion where one of you said; “I could(n’t) give a crap”?

  • rob

    @Shawn : ha! I didn’t think about that implication. No, we weren’t fighting. Just one of those random things that I was thinking about.

  • I couldn’t care less about this crap… 🙂