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"I don't give a shit" & "I could give two
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 3:22 pm Reply with quote
MIke2GuysTalking
 
Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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Location: St. Louis, MO USA


These are items that I hear regularly, the former from friends, and the latter from my father - regularly. Smile

Does anyone have any thoughts on these two beauts?

I really do give a shit, and if you'd like I can provide you two shits for discussion.

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Re: "I don't give a shit" & "I could give
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 3:59 pm Reply with quote
QuillTheory
 
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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Location: Cincinnati, OH


MIke2GuysTalking wrote:
I really do give a shit...


I believed that is usually used in the negative forum, such as in the topic's example. I suppose since excretions are so utterly worthless, the individual concerned does not wish to even part with that in order to hear what the other has to say. I can envision the expression evolving slowly over time using less and less valued items for comparison till it came to it's current form. Perhaps "rat's behind" and "spit" could be used in place of the last word, although I have no verification that they pre-date it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:28 pm Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


Yeah, but I also hear Mike's positive usage ("I really do give a shit.") used in a kind of ironic sense.

To me that usage means something like, "I really am not completely indifferent to this, I really don't not care."

According to my Word-Nerd-brother in edition #65, this might be a rather around-the-bend example of litotes: expressing an affirmative by stating a negative of the contrary.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:00 pm Reply with quote
iuchiban
 
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 30
Location: Greeley, CO


In kind of the same vein I used to have a friend who would say, "Let me check my 'give a shit list'" he would then consult a fake list on his hand, tell you that it wasn't there and walk away, funny stuff.

Another variation of the "give a shits" would be, "Like I give a shit." Implying that you just don't care, or one that I would hear from my grandfater a lot "Shit all if I care." Which would be fuck all if he was really mad.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:19 pm Reply with quote
QuillTheory
 
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Dave wrote:
According to my Word-Nerd-brother in edition #65, this might be a rather around-the-bend example of litotes: expressing an affirmative by stating a negative of the contrary.


That makes more sense now that I look at it closer. Although, it sounds still slightly awkward when I say it outloud. It is a similar reaction when I hear a perhaps related usage such as, "that was the sh*t." It always takes my brain a moment to realise the speaker means that it was in fact good perhaps because of the overpowering negativity of the final word.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 9:14 pm Reply with quote
Megamatt
 
Joined: 25 Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Charlotte, NC


iuchiban wrote:
In kind of the same vein I used to have a friend who would say, "Let me check my 'give a shit list'" he would then consult a fake list on his hand, tell you that it wasn't there and walk away, funny stuff.

Another variation of the "give a shits" would be, "Like I give a shit." Implying that you just don't care, or one that I would hear from my grandfater a lot "Shit all if I care." Which would be fuck all if he was really mad.



Your friend is hilarious. That's almost as funny as when one of my friends, while someone is complaining, gets quiet and cups his hand to his ear, listening intently. He then says, "You hear that? I think the 'Whaa-mbulance,' is coming to get you."

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:38 pm Reply with quote
iuchiban
 
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 30
Location: Greeley, CO


Megamatt wrote:
Your friend is hilarious. That's almost as funny as when one of my friends, while someone is complaining, gets quiet and cups his hand to his ear, listening intently. He then says, "You hear that? I think the 'Whaa-mbulance,' is coming to get you."


Yeah he actually spoke english as a second language as well (Spanish was his first language) so on top of the phrase there was also his accent, he was a really funny guy.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:57 am Reply with quote
rmk
 
Joined: 14 Jul 2006
Posts: 5


I've heard "could/couldn't give less than a shit", quite often. I guess the implication here is that the subject is so contemptuous as to not even be worth giving a shit over.

Also, I don't know how widespread it is, but I've got a friend who sometimes says: "Ask me if I give a shit." After you then ask him, he responds "No, here's a quarter, go call someone who does."
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 3:04 am Reply with quote
GimliNZ
 
Joined: 10 Aug 2006
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Another variation or context for this is when somebody is complaining to you and you retort: "I'm sorry, you must have mistaken me for someone who gives a shit!!"

When I visited Australia once, I heard a Taxi driver complain about a particular type of driver and commented that "they really shit me!!" or "that shits me!"

It is such an emphatic word.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 1:20 am Reply with quote
LightYear
 
Joined: 10 Oct 2006
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QuillTheory wrote:
It is a similar reaction when I hear a perhaps related usage such as, "that was the sh*t." It always takes my brain a moment to realise the speaker means that it was in fact good perhaps because of the overpowering negativity of the final word.


This of course concerns the subtle difference between "shit" and "the shit". The latter generally refers to the epitome, with the particular superlative ommitted. It is similar in usage to "the bomb". It certainly took me some time to recognise when each meaning was implied.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 1:23 am Reply with quote
LightYear
 
Joined: 10 Oct 2006
Posts: 6
Location: Newcastle, Australia


GimliNZ wrote:
Another variation or context for this is when somebody is complaining to you and you retort: "I'm sorry, you must have mistaken me for someone who gives a shit!!"


Here meaning "a worthless pile of stuff".

Quote:
When I visited Australia once, I heard a Taxi driver complain about a particular type of driver and commented that "they really shit me!!" or "that shits me!"


And here being short for "gives me the shits" thereby making "me shitty" or angry. I believe this usage is actually more literally - when one has "the shits" my mental image is that of being frustrated, suffering from diarrhoea!

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just for the shits and giggles
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 1:49 am Reply with quote
Susan
 
Joined: 07 Oct 2006
Posts: 11


that's always a great descriptive rude word combo....
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:21 pm Reply with quote
tristanjay7
 
Joined: 15 Oct 2006
Posts: 28
Location: Madison, WI


Regarding negation: "to give a shit" is what is referred to as a negative polarity item. NPIs are constructions that favor a environment of negation and generally have a strange sound when negation is removed. Examples include (I use # to mark awkwardness):

Give a shit/fuck/damn:
I don't give a shit; # I give a shit

In ages:
I haven't heard an episode in ages; # I have heard an episode in ages.

At all:
Tristan's post makes no sense at all; # Tristan's post makes sense at all.

Bat an eye:
I wouldn't bat an eye; # I would bat an eye.

Last year in my syntax course, I wrote an analysis of the word yet in Wisconsin English as NPI that has gained a positive context.

Some NPI links:
http://www-personal.umich.edu/%7Ejlawler/NPIs.pdf
http://www-personal.umich.edu/%7Ejlawler/aue/npi.html
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/aue/giveadamn.html
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:21 am Reply with quote
masked_muffin
 
Joined: 03 Aug 2006
Posts: 18


Another phrase with the negation removed is "care less":

I couldn't care less / I could care less.

I've heard people say the latter, and it always bothered me because saying that you could care less means that it makes you care a little.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:36 am Reply with quote
Susan
 
Joined: 07 Oct 2006
Posts: 11


another way of expressing the same sentiment!
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"I don't give a shit" & "I could give two
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